By DANNY P. SMITH
The Starkville Academy Volunteers were determined not to let a lead slip away.
After securing a 34-27 advantage at halftime, the Vols turned it up one more notch against the Indianola Academy Colonels Tuesday night.
Starkville Academy out-scored Indianola 22-12 in the third quarter to increase its margin to 56-39 and went on to win a 72-49 decision at home.
The Vols evened their record at 2-2, which already doubles their win mark from last season.
"We hadn't played well the last two games and sometimes going through what they did last year, you wonder as a coach, are they going to dig this hole and keep digging?" Starkville Academy boys coach Chris Lyle said. "To their credit, our guys just played tremendous in the second half.
"In the second half, once we were able to figure out we could get after them a little bit, that's when the tempo was already set."
Lyle said the Vols pride themselves in being in good condition and it seemed to show as they converted several easy baskets down the stretch on the Colonels.
Adam Crittenden led a balanced scoring attack for SA with 12 points, while J.R. Gerhart added 11 points. Austin Kinard and Kyle Lomen chipped in 10 points each.
It was pleasing to Lyle to see different players contributing to the cause.
"We had some guys step up...some younger guys," Lyle said. "Tyler Vaughan comes off the bench and gets crucial minutes. Hunter Bowlin is the same way so we had different guys step up. Austin Marsh finally came off the bench and showed us his athleticism. It was a good effort all the way around."
The Vols finish the week with a tough two-game stretch against Jackson Academy at home Thursday and the first road game of the season at Leake Academy on Saturday.