CALEDONIA - Louis Alexander is coming home.
Gym rats come in all shapes and sizes. Usually the student-athletes you find toiling away long after their teammates have went home are a step slower or a few inches shorter than the standouts that grab all the headlines. Those stalwarts likely attracted their share of stars and are on the watch lists of most local colleges, and maybe even some of the national powerhouses.
SCOOBA -- Jimmy Gilford quickly stepped away and immediately shouted encouragement at high school football players.
Casey Finch was a 22-year-old nursing student at Mississippi University for Women when she got a life-changing phone call.
Luther Riley, who led the Columbus High School boys basketball team to its first state championship this year, will not return to coach the Falcons.
Although Marcus Murphy has two seasons of high school football left, he already is thinking about playing at the next level. On Tuesday, the West Point High School football rising junior gave a verbal commitment to Mississippi State via Twitter.
STARKVILLE -- Ralesheia Gee sat in front of friends, family, teammates, coaches and schoolmates Monday and was quiet as a church mouse.
STARKVILLE - As Kelsey Jones begins her senior season, she is one of the state's top basketball prospects.
WEST POINT - When Dashmond Daniel began his coaching career four seasons ago at West Point High School, he quickly identified the best player on the girls' basketball team.
WEST POINT - Oak Hill Academy senior basketball player Sarah Dill received some encouraging words from her coach Brian Middleton during her junior season.
STEENS -- Finding your voice sometimes can be difficult.
If nothing else, Danny Crawford has learned patience during his coaching career.
STARKVILLE - When he began his junior year at Starkville High School, Tyson Carter knew the expectation was there for him to become a leader on the basketball team.
PHEBA -- A good game plan can help an underdog overcome overwhelming odds. After a 17-3 loss to Hebron Christian on Tuesday in Game 1 of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A championship series, the Humphreys Academy baseball team knew it was going to have to try anything and everything Thursday to have a shot at taking Game 2 and forcing a winner-take-all finale.
Artavious McDyess knew he wanted to play basketball in college. At 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds, McDyess has the potential to grow into his frame and to be as dominant a post player as his nickname -- "Swat" -- suggests. McDyess also has the good fortune of having great blood lines from his father, former NBA All-Star Antonio McDyess. But the college recruiting process can give any student-athlete pause.
Kylin Hill won't have to travel far to play college football. The Columbus High School football rising senior verbally committed to Mississippi State via Twitter on Wednesday. "MSU is family," Hill said. "They treat you like you're their favorite cousin."
Terrell Jennings Jr. didn't have a say in the matter.
BELZONI -- Hebron Christian's Payton Griffin might have a sore pitching shoulder, but the senior did not show any ill effect from the ding. He gritted his teeth and hurled the ball over the plate -- time and time again -- as he kept bats consistently quiet. He became just too much for the Humphreys Rebels as the game progressed on Tuesday evening.
STARKVILLE -- Milton Smith is excited about the job he has in front of him.
PHEBA -- Focus is a key for Payton Griffin. The Hebron Christian senior probably has heard his father, Todd, stress the importance of being mentally ready more than a few times in his high school career. Whether it has been in football, basketball, or baseball, that focus has helped Payton and his teammates achieve their share of success in all three sports.
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