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January 19th, 2012
The Starkville Lady Yellowjackets wanted to take control of Thursday's match early.
After losing a tough 2-1 decision at New Hope on Wednesday night, the Lady Jackets were intent on getting off to a fast start against the Neshoba Central Rockets.
Starkville did that as Noa Hardin scored two early goals and it went on to a 5-0 victory at Yellowjacket Stadium.
"(Wednesday night) was definitely a heartbreaker, but they rebounded," SHS girls coach Anna Albritton said. "Sometimes it takes something like (the New Hope loss) to get you back on track. Not that we played bad, I thought we were the better team and we possessed the ball 90 percent of the time. We just couldn't finish."
OXFORD â€“ The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs were able to survive on the road again Thursday night in an Southeastern Conference rivalry game.
The Lady Bulldogs beat Alabama last time they were on the road.
This time they beat in-state rival Ole Miss 51-46 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
"You should always take this game personal," MSU senior guard Diamber Johnson said. "There is always something behind it."
With less than 2 minutes remaining in the ball game, the Lady Bulldogs were hanging onto a 48-43 lead. Johnson took care of that when she knocked down a 3-pointer and did her well-known salute to the crowd.
Kids grow up playing sports dreaming of bigger days.
They dream of playing in the big leagues, hitting home runs, and being the hero.
On Thursday morning, Starkville High School senior Nick Brooks, took a step toward reaching his dream of playing college baseball as he signed his letter of intent with East Mississippi Community College.
â€śMan, this is a dream come true for me,â€ť said Brooks. â€śIâ€™ve always wanted to play college baseball.Â It is just something that I want to pursue later in my life.Â I have an opportunity to go to a school like EMCC, baseball and academically, it is just a good fit.â€ť
As his head coach watched with family and friends on hand for the ceremony, it was easy to see he was proud of his young player.
Thursday morning Starkville High School senior, Nick Brooks, selected his athletic home for the next two seasons as he signed his letter of intent to play for the Lions of East Mississippi Community College.
â€śMan this is a dream come true for me,â€ť said Brooks. â€śIâ€™ve always wanted to play college baseball. It is just something that I want to pursue later in my life. I have an opportunity to go to a school like EMCC, baseball and academically it is just a good fit.â€ť
Brooks is a do-it-all type player who will truly help the Lions at the plate, on the bases, in the outfield, and potentially on the mound.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs traveled to the Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday night carrying a 15â€“3 record and a No. 18 ranking.
However, they left with a 75-68 loss at the hands of scrappy Ole Miss ballclub who received a career night from Reginald Buckner.Â
The Rebels (12-6, 2-2) jumped out to an early lead in the contest leading by as many as nine in the first half.Â The Bulldogs (15-4, 2-2) simply couldnâ€™t get over the hump at that point.Â
â€śThey started out well early in the game and we fought from behind all night long, never got over the hump,â€ť said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury.Â
State would battle back and take a one-point lead at 18-17. From that point, the two teams traded baskets over the next couple of possessions before the Rebels took the lead for good.Â
â€śI thought (Buckner) was tremendous tonight,â€ť said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. â€ś(Holloway) got those two early fouls and Reggie was out there on his own tonight. Â He really had to keep us a float early. This was by far Reggieâ€™s best game of the season when we needed it the most.â€ť
Buckner managed a career night with 19 points despite missing seven shots from the free-throw line. He also had a game-high 15 rebounds for the Rebels.Â
â€śBuckner was probably the difference in the game,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śBuckner, they got more from him than Iâ€™m sure they anticipated.â€ť
Twice the Mississippi State Bulldogs have gone on the road in Southeastern Conference play and twice theyâ€™ve come away with disappointing losses. Â
First it was the loss in the lidlifter at Arkansas 98-88 and Wednesday night, the Bulldogs fell to their rivals to the north 75â€“68.Â
â€śIt has come down to toughness,â€ť said Stateâ€™s freshman forward Rodney Hood, who scored 13 for the Bulldogs. â€śWe havenâ€™t been playing our type of basketball on the road.â€ť
Down the stretch Mississippi State had opportunities but couldnâ€™t get the stops it needed to close the game.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs don't expect it to be easy tonight when they take on rival Ole Miss in Oxford.
MSU's chances at a victory are improved if it does the job in certain areas.
"Any team can be beaten any night when you do those little things," State senior point guard Diamber Johnson said. "That plays a major part."
The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Rebels take the Tad Smith Coliseum floor at 7 p.m., one night after the men clashed in Southeastern Conference action.
It takes more than one, two or three All-Star players to have success.
Former Mississippi State center Erick Dampier got to experience that first-hand in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Miami Heat last season.
Even though Miami had LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (a.k.a. The Big Three), Dampier said there was more to the team than just them.
"People always talk about the big three on that team, but they can't go out and win all of those games by themselves," Dampier said. "It takes 12 people and that's what people fail to realize. You have to talk about the team in order to win games. Those guys bought into the team concept and without the other 12 people on that team, we couldn't win."
In only one season of being together, Dampier gained tremendous respect for James because of the way he went about his business.
Dampier calls James "the best player in the league," but said there's a reason he has reached that status.
The 18th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs travel north to take on Ole Miss tonight in the longest running rivalry in school history.
The two teams have squared off 243 times with the State coming out on top a school-best 138 times, and for the Bulldogs, a win in the 244th meeting means theyâ€™ve tied a 96-year-old record.Â
The Bulldogs (15-3, 2-1) havenâ€™t won four-straight in Oxford since the 1914-16 seasons and while that is significant to the team, MSU senior point guard Dee Bost understands this is the one the fans really want.Â
â€śYou can lose three games in a row but if you lose to Ole Miss, that game probably means more to our fans and our school,â€ť said Bost, who stands second in scoring with 16.1 points per outing. â€śPlaying Ole Miss, you always have to come to play because everybody is watching.â€ť
In the state of Mississippi, it is a pretty much understood thing that Bulldogs donâ€™t like Rebels and Rebels donâ€™t care for Bulldogs.
Thatâ€™s just the way it is.
For Mississippi State's Rodney Hood, a Meridian native, he gets the rivalry loud and clear.Â
â€śI know people don't like Ole Miss. I don't have anything against them but I know State fans really want this,â€ť said Hood who is the third-leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 11.6 points per game. â€śI know we don't like them and they don't like us. I'm excited for the game.â€ť
Hood will get his first taste of MSUâ€™s oldest rivalry tonight as the 15-3 Bulldogs travel to Oxford to take on the 11-6 Rebels and in doing so heâ€™ll face one of his more difficult matchups of the season in forward, Terrance Henry.