Starkville Academy's Anna Lea Little (3) defends against an opponent last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers are not dwelling on the past.
Even though last year's team enjoyed a successful season that including three State titles (Class AAA-Division 2, Class AAA and Overall), the focus is on this year and the possibilities that rest with this group of Lady Vols.
"We know teams will be gunning for our spot, but it's important to set our own expectations and not let the expectations of others define who we are," SA senior Anna Lea Little said.
Lady Vol head coach Glenn Schmidt said there has been no discussion of repeating or duplicating last year's success.
There is a championship to be gained at the end of this season and that's what Starkville Academy strives to get.
"They have goals and their goal is to win a state championship," Schmidt said. "Last year doesn't matter. It's gone. They know what they want to do and they are working hard enough to do it. We do it like we always do and that's one game at a time and one practice at a time."
The Lady Vols have already won four games this season, including public school competition in New Site and Itawamba.
Schmidt said the purpose of the first four games was to get on the court, see how things come together and find out what needs to be worked on.
Starkville Academy has three seniors in Little, Maggie Profitt and Tiffany Huddleston.
Little transferred from Starkville Christian three years ago, while Profitt made the move from Columbus and Huddleston has experienced success with the Lady Vols in basketball and soccer.
"Everyone gets caught up in saying what a great athlete (Huddleston) is, but she knows what's going on as a basketball player," Schmidt said. "She's put time into basketball since the very beginning of her athletic career, then you've got Maggie Proffitt who has driven all over the world to play AAU basketball since the 5th and 6th grade and the sacrifice she's made. After you do that for so many years and you put that out there, you get it.
"Anna Lea, who came in as a 10th grader, has done so much for her game on her own in three years and has accepted the things we've tried to do as a program."
Schmidt said juniors Sallie Kate Richardson and Nora Kathryn Carroll are also valuable as starters for SA as well as junior Maridee Higginbotham off the bench. Higginbotham has been waiting for her opportunity to contribute, while recovering from a stress fracture in her foot.
The sophomore group looking to contribute off the bench are Anna McKell, Janiece Pigg, Taylor Campbell, Alex McCafferty, McClain Morgan and Hannah Huddleston.
There are Lady Vols on the roster who have put in the time and have developed their skills.
"I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that when athletes spend a great amount of time working to make themselves better, it pays off and it's a pleasure to coach young people that have invested so much time," Schmidt said. "We're talking about time from the 5th and 6th grade on. A couple of them are double and triple sport athletes. They have still been able to maintain a level of dedication to this game and it's going to pay off for them. It's a pleasure to coach them."
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