Carnail Minor shot lights out to lead the Starkville Academy Volunteers to a 44-35 Saturday night victory after starting the season with nine road games.
“I was really worried with it being our first home game how we were going to respond,” Starkville Academy boys coach Mark Alexander said. “I think when we came out hitting those 3s, it really loosened us up and just allowed us to play. It just got us going and that was so big. We had the temp where we wanted it and we were able to control the game like we wanted.”
Minor’s dominance began in the first period of play. Of the 13 points scored by the Volunteers, Minor contributed 11 including going 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Parklane scored nine to give Starkville Academy a four-point lead heading into the second period of play.
As his first shot left his hands, Minor said he could feel the excitement and knew this was going to be a good game.
“I was feeling good,” Minor said. “With the first shot I took, I was hot. I felt like I was going to get to take a lot of shots and we were going to win, but I knew we still had to keep playing hard and not give up.”
The Volunteer defense took over in the second as they held the Pioneers scoreless for 6 minutes until Zach Stutzman scored on a layup. Oshea Kemp started the scoring for Starkville Academy with a mid-range jumper and as the half came to a close, the Volunteers enjoyed a 19-13 lead.
With his outstanding first period performance, Minor led the first half scoring for Starkville Academy with 11, while Spence Remely led the Pioneers with five.
Action in the third period began with Minor hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the night to put Starkville Academy up 22-13. Minor then went on to score five additional points, including a jumper from the elbow. The senior’s eight points were the only ones scored by the Volunteers during the third which ended with a Parklane 3-pointer to close action with a 27-23 Starkville Academy lead.
Kemp hit a running floater in the lane over the defender to start fourth period scoring for the Volunteers. Starkville Academy then picked up a couple of field goals from Brandon Sharp and Minor, before Minor missed his first shot with 5:30 left to play. The Volunteers scored their last eight points from the charity stripe to close out their 44-35 victory over the Pioneers.
Minor led Starkville Academy going 7-for-8 for the night to score 19 points, followed by Kemp and Sharp to round out the Volunteer top three scorers with six and five points, respectively. Brady Lay was the leading Pioneer with 10 points, followed by Phillip Strawn with nine.
With the win, Starkville Academy moved to 5-5 this year and are on a four-game win streak. Alexander said his team knows what a win like this means and it's just excited about the rest of the season.
“It’s huge,” Alexander said. “We’ve been winning. We’ve had nine-straight games on the road. Now we have a winning streak going and everybody’s excited about the boy’s program and I thought it was important that we kept the momentum going with a good game against a quality opponent at home.”
The Vols also won the junior varsity boys game 47-23 behind the nine points of Houston Clark. David Moore added eight points.
The Starkville Academy teams welcome Madison-Ridgeland Academy to town on Tuesday.