Not one, not two, but three championships.
LeBron James says he wants it, but the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers have it.
Starkville Academy has captured three titles in as many weeks after taking the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Championship on Saturday.
If any group of athletes deserves to enjoy that kind of run, it's the Lady Vols.
Starkville Academy girls coach Glenn Schmidt had a front row seat for how hard the players prepared for success.
"People see the game and who scored, but they don't see the 6 a.m. practices, they don't see the weight room, the struggles they've gone through and the love they have for each other," Schmidt said. "They are a bunch of good ole girls that get after it, plus they are pretty good basketball players and they have worked to be that. They have planned this whether they said it or not."
It takes more than just one, two or three players to claim a title. It's hard to find a better example of teamwork than what the Lady Vols showed throughout the season.
Anna Lea Little and Sallie Kate Richardson proved to be consistent scorers throughout the season, but it was the play of Tiffany Huddleston down the stretch of Saturday's 50-39 victory for SA against Madison-Ridgeland Academy that was key. Huddleston tied Richardson for game-high in points with 12 and had four-straight buckets in the fourth quarter to cause some separation in the score.
Anna Prestridge was solid at point guard the entire year, while Nora Kathryn Carroll, April Burney, Lauren Atwell, Julianne Jackson and Brittany Jacks were good in their roles.
"Their attitudes are great and they've earned their chances to play," Schmidt said. "That's why we've been able to do this. It's been somebody new every game. I am so proud of our youngsters, our fans and our school."
It had to be a tremendous grind for the Lady Vols to be able to win three tournaments in a row.
After each victory, the SA players did a good job of getting refocused on the task at hand.
It was nice to see the amount of support that the Lady Vols received from the people of Starkville in Clinton. They definitely deserved it.
With the Overall Tournament being played on the campus of Mississippi College, it was basically a home-court advantage for Jackson Prep, the team SA defeated in the semifinals Friday, and MRA.
The crowd that was on hand to cheer on the Lady Vols at A.E. Wood Coliseum seemed to make a difference because Schmidt thanked them after the game.
On the way to three championships, Starkville Academy compiled a record of 38-5.
The Lady Vols went about their business the right way and it was impressive to see things come together for them.Â
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.
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