Jackets celebrate senior night with wins over Tigers

Starkville High School coach Kristie Williams gives senior Alex Gray a hug.

Sports Editor

Terry Tate definitely had a reason to celebrate on Friday.

Not only was it senior night for the Starkville High School guard, but he was also a birthday boy.

On top of that, Tate hit the first shot of the game, a 3-point field goal at that, on the way to a 14-point night and got the Yellow Jackets going in an 86-54 win over Noxubee County at the Beehive.

"I had confidence and I had in my mind that I was going to shoot the 3,” Tate said of how the game started. "It was fun coming out on senior night. We came out, played hard, defending hard and got the win on our senior night."

Tate, Jamarrion Brown, Atavius “Tank” Jones, Tyler Talley and Lance Trainer were the boys seniors recognized prior to the game for senior night, along with senior Lady Jackets Alex Gray, Donsha Lee, Jalisa Outlaw, Amaria Strong, Idalis Suell, Breanna Young and cheerleaders.

It was a chance for all of the seniors to reflect back on their careers and realize how much they enjoyed being at SHS.

“I love playing with the guys," Brown said. "I’ve learned something over the four years I’ve been playing with them."

Brown was a part of an 11-0 run to start the boys game as the Jackets had not problem improving their overall record to an impressive 24-1.

Starkville held a 33-8 advantage after the first quarter and it was 43-23 at halftime.

Tate made four 3-pointers which helped him reach his final scoring total, while Zeke Cook added 12 points and Talley contributed 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers.

Girls Game
Starkville 55
Noxubee County 8

The biggest cheer for the Lady Jackets came in the second half when seldom-used senior Gray stepped behind the 3-point line and made a shot.

SHS girls coach Kristie Williams was happy to see Gray rewarded for what she means to the program.

“That’s really special," Williams said. "She is one of those six seniors that has continued to work hard. She doesn’t get as many minutes as the other five, but she has always stayed in it, works really hard and that’s what we enjoy about her. She is a good leader and she helps out every way she can.”

Seniors scored 10 of the 14 points for the Lady Jackets in the first quarter as they took a 14-5 lead over the Lady Tigers.

SHS pulled away in the second quarter by outscoring Noxubee County 22-2 and increased the margin to 36-7 by halftime.

The Lady Jackets coasted from that point and have closed the regular season with an overall record of 18-3.

Amaya Ford was the leading scorer for SHS with 10 points, while Strong and Outlaw were next in the scoring column with eight points each.

Williams hugged each one of her seniors during the ceremony between games and couldn't believe it was time for another veteran group to take a bow.

“Senior night comes around quickly," Williams said. "You look up and three years have passed by and you are celebrating the accomplishments of another group. They have had a lot of growth throughout their years and now they are in the driver’s seat as far as leading the team. I just love how they have responded to every challenge that's been given to them. As we go into postseason, I hope they will continue to carry us."

The Class 6A, Region 3 Tournament is up next for Starkville on Tuesday as the girls open against host Madison Central at 4 p.m. and the boys take on Northwest Rankin at 5:30 p.m.