CLINTON – Even though the game was closer than usual for the Starkville Academy girls, the Lady Volunteers never lost sight of their goal.
Starkville Academy's quest of finishing the season undefeated as the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State champions has one more hurdle to clear.
Following a 68-54 defeat of the Lady Buccaneers of Bowling Green Academy on Friday, the Lady Vols have earned that opportunity.
“It was a really good game overall for us,” Starkville Academy coach Glenn Schmidt said. “We had a lot of different people do a lot of different things. We had a great defensive effort by everybody. Overall, I thought it was a really good game and just a good team effort.”
The Lady Vols’ first point of the game did not come until almost 2 minutes into the game when Caroline Halk fouled sending Maggie Proffitt to the line for SA. Proffitt hit one of two to give the Lady Vols the one-point advantage.
A few seconds later Nora Kathryn Carroll sank a shot from behind the arc to get things moving for SA.
Following Carroll’s successful shot from long range, the Lady Vols went on to score 10 additional points making it a 14-9 ballgame after one.
“Nora Kathryn seemed to be the person that stepped out there and got it going,” Schmidt said. “They kind of left her open and she responded well to it. They keyed on Anna Lea (Little) and Maggie pretty good, then one thing led to another, Nora hit some baskets and then it kind of opened it up for everybody else.”
Offensively, in the second period as both squads scored just under 20 points.
With 5:09 remaining, Starkville Academy pushed its lead to eight at 21-13. The Lady Vols extended the lead even more as they led 27-15 with 3:13 left to play in the half.
The final 2 minutes before intermission were very active as both teams scored six points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Bowling Green to end the half with Starkville Academy leading 33-27.
Bowling Green made a run during the third period of competition. With 1:16 left in the period the Lady Buccaneers cut the Lady Vols' lead to three at 44-41.
SA extended the lead back out to seven point at 48-41 as the buzzer sounded ending the third.
The Lady Vols kicked things into another gear and sealed the victory as the clock ticked down.
With 3 minutes remaining SA led 59-50, but the team was not done yet. Defensively, the Lady Vols held the Lady Buccaneers to four points while scoring nine points of their own to walk away with a 14-point victory.
Following her outstanding first-half performance, Carroll ended her night as one of the team’s leading scorers. Tied with Proffitt, the pair left A.E. Wood Coliseum as Starkville Academy’s offensive leaders with 20 points each.
Sallie Kate Richardson had a good night as well for the Lady Vols. Posting 13 points, the junior also pulled down 10 rebounds to post a double-double.
Starkville Academy’s victory sets up a repeat contest with Presbyterian Christian School. In fact, this will be the fourth time for the Lady Vols and Lady Bobcats have met on the hardwood this season.
In all three previous contests, Starkville Academy has emerged victorious, but that does not mean Schmidt and her team are taking a break in preparations.
“We had to play well to beat them the last time we played,” Schmidt said. “They are a good team and we will have to play well to beat them again.”
Today’s tip between Starkville Academy and PCS is set for 1 p.m. on the campus of Mississippi College.