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By JOEL COLEMAN
After a game like Thursday's, Starkville Academy boys basketball coach Mark Alexander is hoping his team can develop a case of selective amnesia.
Jackson Prep jumped out to a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter and never let up as SA dropped a 63-26 decision.
No sooner was it all over before Alexander was trying to make his team forget.
"I told (the team) that one game doesn't define the season," said Alexander. "This was just one of those you have to throw in the garbage can and start over from scratch."
Things unraveled early for the Volunteers (3-2).
Soon after SA's Calvin Young put the Vols up 2-0 with his basket 30 seconds into the game, Jackson Prep ripped off a 12-0 run to take control.
The Patriots outscored the Vols 16-5 in the first quarter and built their advantage to 34-12 by the half, using an aggressive defensive style that both frustrated SA and led to quick baskets.
"(Jackson Prep's) defense got up in us and we couldn't do anything offensively," said Alexander. "That was the whole difference in the game. We've got to do a better job, both as a coaching staff and as players, to be able to handle that kind of pressure offensively when people get up in our face and guard us the way that they guarded."
Things didn't get any better for Starkville Academy following the intermission.
Jackson Prep's Josh Williams, who finished with a game-high 22 points, scored 10 of those in the third quarter as the Patriots extended their lead to 52-18 by the end of the period.
All the while, Alexander felt his team wasn't displaying the type of fight he desired.
"I thought we kind of backed down from the challenge, which I was disappointed in," said Alexander. "That was one of the things that we challenged our guys. Don't look at the scoreboard and don't look at the score. As a coach, I want to see you compete and not back down. Keep playing."
Alexander stated that he believed his team began to show a little resiliency in the latter stages of the game, something that became apparent in the fourth quarter.
SA had its best offensive output in the final period, led by Young, who scored four of his team-high 11 points in the last stanza.
No other Starkville Academy player scored more than five points for the night, though Jon Michael Robinson and Carnail Minor each finished with five apiece.
Even with SA's late surge, it was all much too little, much too late for the Vols as the Raiders lived up to their reputation.
"It was a tough night at the office, to say the least," said Alexander. "We knew (Jackson Prep) was tough coming in and they were as good as advertised."
Now, Alexander just hopes his team can shake off Thursday night's happenings before SA hosts Oak Hill on Monday.
"We'll come in the gym (today) and practice and try to rectify some things, correct some things and get ready for Oak Hill," said Alexander.
The Junior Vols also took a tough loss against Prep 56-15. Brandon Lane had seven points for SA.