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By DANNY P. SMITH
The good news for the Starkville basketball teams is it gets to host this week's Class 6A, Region 2 tournament.
Working against the Yellowjackets and Lady Jackets is the fact they haven't played for over a week.
After having a 10-day layoff from competition, the SHS squads take on Columbus to open postseason play today. The girls play at 4 p.m., while the boys follow at approximately 8:30 p.m.
It wasn't the regular season the Lady Jackets were looking for, finishing with a 5-17 record.
Starkville girls coach Kristie Williams looks forward with anticipation of the division tournament.
"It's a new chapter and with us hosting the district, we're hoping that great things will be in store for the Lady Jackets," Williams said. "It's one of those things where the should of, would of and could of are now out the window and you've just have to look at it as a new opportunity."
The Lady Jackets may not have played for a while, but Williams has been preparing the girls for what's to come.
Williams said any problem with the layoff from competition will be noticed early against the Lady Falcons.
"It may come on getting into the rhythm of the game, being able to adjust to playing hard and it's driving up and down the floor at a continuous pace," Williams said. "In practice, you can stop and go over things. In a game, the whistle blows, you never know what's going to happen."
After losing twice to Columbus during the regular season, Williams expects the pressure to be on the Lady Falcons to get a third.
Williams expects to use that as motivation along with playing on the home court.
"They've beaten us twice and we've gotten close each time so it's time for us to go and play our very best," Williams said. "It's pretty great being able to host this year. We've made it out of that first put-out game situation the last couple of years and we're hoping that trend can continue. With it being at home, that should make it easier."
The Jackets have experienced postseason success at home in recent years, including a win in the Class 6A North State Tournament last season, and coach Greg Carter looks for that to continue.
"It's nice and we're blessed to have (the division tournament) here," Carter said. "We've been able to get tournaments in the past and have played well in those tournaments."
Although not as impressive as last year's 31-2 record that resulted in a Class 6A state championship and overall Grand Slam title, Starkville still has a good mark of 16-6.
No matter if the Jackets have played well or not to this point of the season, Carter understands what the start of the postseason means.
"It's one game at a time and each game determines what happens from then on," Carter said. "Certain games, if you lose them, your season is over. Other games, if you lose, you may have to go on the road to play.
"Every game is important and you wipe the slate clean from the regular season."