SHS teams look to Class 6A, Region 3 Tournament

Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter talks with his team during a timeout.

Sports Editor

It’s been a consistent season for coach Greg Carter’s Starkville Yellow Jackets on the basketball court.

After winning 24 of 25 regular season games, it has been one of the best runs that Carter has had with one of his SHS teams.

The next season begins Tuesday when the Jackets take on Northwest Rankin in the Class 6A, Region 3 Tournament at Madison Central. The game tips at 5:30 p.m.

Even though SHS has defeated Northwest Rankin 70-51 at home and 70-35 on the road, Carter knows a third meeting with the Cougars can be a dangerous situation.

“It’s difficult sometimes to beat a team three times in the same year and unfortunately when you get to the district tournament, that’s what you have because you are so familiar with each other,” Carter said. “It’s difficult when you get to this stage of the season because you’ve played before, so it become a battle of wills sometimes which team is going to be the toughest.”

Except for a brief time in December when the Jackets lost their only game of the season to Tupelo 57-55 in overtime, Carter said they have “been pretty consistent.”

He doesn’t want any slip ups now because one loss can hurt postseason positioning.

“You want to win the district tournament and get a good seed going into the playoffs,” Carter said.

The probable SHS starters for tonight are Jamarrion Brown, Zeke Cook, Jamarvis Phillips, Tyler Talley and Terry Tate.

It could be a more difficult task for the Lady Jackets because not only are they playing an division opponent for the third time, but they are seeing it for a second time on its home floor.

Starkville meets Madison Central to open the division tournament at 4 p.m.

The Lady Jackets (18-3) have enjoyed a very good season coming off two-straight Class 6A State championships. The only losses have been to Pontotoc and Columbus twice.

SHS girls coach Kristie Williams knows none of that means anything now.

“It’s a new chapter and we have to write new pages,” Williams said. “We’ll start with Madison Central and we’ve been able to win the first two games against them, but it’s a new season. Everybody is hungry to keep going. We’ve just got to go out and strive to do our very best.”

In the previous meetings with the Lady Jaguars, the Lady Jackets have won 55-39 and 44-26 decisions.

Starkville has been very good defensively and only allowed eight points in its last outing, which was a 55-8 win over Noxubee County.

“With our defense, we’ll be able to turn those into easy buckets,” Williams said. “I think that is going to help us as we move on because we are going to face some teams that are going to be able to shoot the ball well, so we’re going to have to play lockdown defense. I’m excited about what’s ahead.”

The Lady Jackets have had a consistent starting lineup throughout the season of Amaya Ford, Jalisa Outlaw, Amaria Strong, Idalis Suell and Breanna Young,

With the goal of getting back to Jackson and defending the state title in sight, Williams has issued a challenge to her squad.

“Everybody is going to have to be all in, all focused and ready to go,” Williams said.