JACKSON – Patience was the key in the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers victory on Tuesday evening.
Jackson Prep attempted to take SA out of its comfort zone by slowing the ball game down. That plan did not work as the Lady Vols overcame the change in pace to claim a Class AAA first round victory 47-32.
“They came out on the first offensive possession and held the ball,” Starkville Academy coach Glenn Schmidt said. “They didn’t really attempt to score. It was clear they wanted to slow the game down and they did a good job of taking us out of our offense, but we did enough to get the win.”
Despite not being in their usual offense, the Lady Vols posted 13 points during the first period to take a 13-9 lead.
Starkville Academy stepped up on defense during the second quarter as it became clear it was not going to be an offensively driven game. Holding Jackson Prep to five points in the second 8 minutes, the Lady Vols scored 12 points to hold a 25-14 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was much like the first two as Starkville Academy scored 14 points, while the Lady Patriots tacked on seven more points to place the score at 39-21 heading into the final period.
Jackson Prep managed to outscore the Lady Vols during the fourth period. The 11 points put up by the Lady Patriots was not enough as Starkville Academy added another eight points to stand victorious.
Maggie Proffitt led the way for the Lady Vols with 22 points followed closely by Sallie Kate Richardson who posted 13 points.
While Proffitt and Richardson led the way individually, Schmidt knows that Tuesday’s win would not have been possible without the entire team’s efforts.
“We all did a really good job,” Schmidt said. “They guarded Anna Lea (Little) and Maggie very tightly which gave Sallie Kate the ball inside to make things happen, then you have Nora Kathryn (Carroll) who did a good job defending. I really don’t want to single one player out as (Tuesday) was really a team effort and win.”
With the win, Starkville Academy moves to 38-0 overall and advances to the second round of the Class AAA State Tournament where it faces the winner of the Presbyterian Christian School-Copiah Academy game. Tip off between the Lady Vols and their still to be determined opponent is set for Friday at 1 p.m.
Madison-Ridgeland Academy 44,
Starkville Academy 37
JACKSON – The Volunteers entered Tuesday’s contest with the mentality that they could play with anyone.
Despite dropping a the contest with Madison-Ridgeland Academy, SA believed it played one of its best game’s of the season.
“It was a great effort,” Vols’ coach Mark Alexander said. “It was a team effort. Playing the No. 3 team in the state and you find yourself with a chance to win, I can’t say enough about the guys’ effort.”
The Patriots took the lead from the start and never looked back as they held an 11-6 advantage after one complete.
First half action brought heartbreak for the Volunteers as senior Carnail Minor left the game due to injury and was unable to return the rest of the night.
Losing Minor was certainly a blow to Starkville Academy, but teammate Brandon Sharp stepped up and led the team throughout the rest of the game. Sharp ended his night as the team’s leading scorer with 20 points.
“Brandon Sharp was phenomenal,” Alexander said. “He had a fantastic game. After Carnail got hurt, he said ‘this is my game’ and took charge. He had one of the better games that I have seen him play.”
The Vols were only down 26-17 at the half, but despite never being out of the game, they were not able to mount a comeback. As the buzzer sounded, it brought with it the end of Starkville Academy’s season.
With the season complete, Alexander reflected on what his three seniors have meant to the program both as a trio and individually.
“It will be hard to replace those three,” Alexander said. “Each one brings something unique. Brandon is like having a coach on the floor. Then you have Carnail, who is a great kid. He has been our leading scorer for two years. You hate to see his career end like it did (Tuesday). Matthew (Christensen) is very knowledgeable in terms of his heart and the intangibles he brings to the table. All three mean a lot to the program and they can be proud of what they have done here.”