The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers get to find out more about their basketball team this week by participating in the Heritage Academy Preseason Tournament.
Getting the Lady Vols on the court during practice can reveal only so much so one can understand why coach Glenn Schmidt can't wait for today's 5:15 p.m. tip in Columbus against Madison-Ridgeland Academy.
"I'm really glad we can start playing so we can evaluate some of the things we've been doing and see some of our strengths and weaknesses," Schmidt said. "You think you know, but you don't until you actually play somebody."
Over the course of the next three days, Starkville Academy plays MRA, Heritage and Carroll Academy.
Schmidt likes to get the season started in a tournament-type atmosphere. The Lady Vols have participated in tournaments at Heritage, East Rankin and Winona over the years and have even hosted an event.
Even though Starkville Academy will see Heritage and MRA two more times each this season, Schmidt doesn't mind getting an early look at the competition.
"We like to go where we feel we can get good competition and different competition even though we do play MRA and Heritage twice more this season," Schmidt said. "Our junior high is in it too so it's a real good opportunity for us."
The Lady Vols didn't have to go back very far to find notes on their first opponent. SA defeated MRA in the final home game last season.
Schmidt knows the Lady Patriots, coached by former Lady Vols coach Stephen Force, will pose a serious challenge.
"It doesn't matter who your personnel is or who their personnel is, (MRA) is just a good solid basketball program," Schmidt said. "Stephen Force does an excellent job."
SA puts a starting lineup on the floor that has two juniors in Anna Prestridge and Julianne Jackson, a sophomore in Anna Lea Little and two freshmen in Nora Kathryn Carroll and Sallie Kate Richardson.
Schmidt plans to come off the bench with three more juniors and has no seniors on the roster, but she doesn't plan to make age an issue.
"All I care about is the effort they put forth on the court when it's time to practice and play and so far it's been good," Schmidt said.