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Rising to the challenge: Lady Vols defeat Lady Rams 80-56

December 22, 2012

Starkville Academy junior guard Maridee Higginbotham (11) looks to pass out of a double team against Provine Saturday afternoon in Columbus. (Photo by Chad Ray, For Starkville Daily News)

COLUMBUS – The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers faced their second public school opponent of the Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Invitational in the form of the Lady Rams from Provine.

Heading into the game Lady Vols coach Glenn Schmidt knew her team was in for a battle, but her team rose to the challenge walking away with a 80-56 victory.

“That’s a pretty good basketball team in that they know how to score and fortunately, we were able to score too,” Schmidt said,

Not only did the Lady Vols score, they seemed to set the pace for the entire game. Maggie Proffitt was instrumental in that pace setting as she scored 14 of 16 points put up by Starkville Academy during the first quarter of play. After one quarter, the score stood 16-7 in favor of the Lady Vols.

“I don’t think it matters what court Maggie is on,” Schmidt said. “Maggie loves to play and Maggie can score. She plays a good floor game. She wants to win. She is just a smooth, non-affected player. You can’t rattle her. She just keeps the same demeanor the whole time.”

Starkville Academy continued the scoring prowess as it engaged in an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to make it a 28-11 ballgame. Janiece Pigg stepped up to the charity stripe to end the first half by sinking a free throw making it a 35-21 contest at the half.

The Lady Vols experienced one of their best periods of play as they outscored Provine by 13 points during the third quarter. With the score standing at 41-31, Starkville Academy went on its second run of the game. Highlighted by Tiffany Huddleston’s eight points, the Lady Vols went 13-0 to make it 54-31.

Starkville Academy did not stop there as the team scored another eight before closing the quarter with a score of 62-35.

“As the game went on, we seemed to pick up a little bit, especially at the beginning of the third quarter,” Schmidt said. “That was big for us. I thought we were flat because we fouled too much and we didn’t rebound, but fortunately, we were able to score with them.”

Pigg began the fourth-quarter scoring with a turn-around jumper from the post to make it 64-35. Later on in the quarter, Sallie Kate Richardson hit a left-handed layup as the Lady Vols went up 74-46. Nora Kathryn Carroll ended all scoring with two free throws to give Starkville Academy the win.

The Lady Vols had four players scoring in the double digits. Proffitt led the way with 26 points, followed by Carroll, Richardson and Huddleston who posted 14, 13 and 12 respectively. Anna Lee Little led the team in rebounds with 10, while her teammate Richardson brought down eight.

Looking at the statistics, it is clear Starkville Academy is a fundamentally sound team, which boasts a disciplined defense and a balanced, unselfish offense that spreads the ball around.

“I think a lot of that is because they are mature basketball players and they know that although everyone of them could score and would want to score, they know the only way you could win against some of the defenses we play against is to look for the best shot,” Schmidt said. “It’s John Wooden who said ‘it’s amazing what a team can do when nobody cares who gets the credit’ and that is where we are and I hope we stay that way for another three months. If we do, we will be fine.”

With the win, Starkville Academy moves to 17-0 overall. Up next for the team is the Magnolia Heights Tournament which runs Dec. 27-29.

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