JACKSON – The Starkville High School boys' basketball team didn't have the feeling at the Big House as they hoped Tuesday night.
The Yellowjackets fell to the Wayne County War Eagles 50-30 in the semifinals of the Class 5A State Tournament inside Mississippi Coliseum.
"We didn't play very well," Starkville head coach Greg Carter said. "(Wayne County) had a little bit to do with that. They are pretty good. We weren't very good in any facet of the game. Plain and simple, we weren't very good."
The War Eagles went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter and SHS trailed 15-7 after the first frame. Senior Gavin Ware took it upon himself to get the Jackets back into the game.
He scored all seven points in Starkville's 7-2 run to pull within 17-14 early in the second quarter.
"They started really crowding the lane and he would be open for a split second and next thing you know they got two or three guys in there around him," Carter said of Wayne County's defense on Ware. "I know it frustrated him."
Wayne County's Raeford Worsham knocked down a 3-pointer to stretch the lead back out to six at 20-14. That's as close as Carter's team got the rest of the way.
"Had we been able to stay out of our own way in the first half, the first half would have been different," Carter said. "We just couldn't do it."
The Jackets did not find their shot all night and entered halftime trailing 25-18. Ware accounted for half of the offense with nine points in the first half.
"I didn't think we shot it very well, we didn't get inside enough and we didn't finish when we got in there," Carter said. "We were missing shots everywhere. (We missed) inside and open looks. It (isn't) like we have played here before."
Wayne County came out in the second half and outscored the SHS 14-4 in the third quarter. The War Eagles scored the first four points of the half and had a 6-0 run midway through the quarter to really dash the Jackets hopes.
Starkville did not get much offensive power from one its threats from outside. Senior Jacolby Mobley did not play much in the opening half.
Mobley earned two fouls early in the first quarter and picked up his third right before halftime.
"That hurt but he wasn't getting a whole lot of shot attempts as it was," Carter said of Mobley's foul trouble.
He was assessed a technical foul midway through the third quarter for his fourth.
Wayne County wanted to push the tempo and play a fast-paced game. No team in the regular season was able to run with the Jackets, but the War Eagles possessed quite a bit of speed.
"They wanted to play fast," Carter said. "When you play fast, you have to score points. You got to keep up the pace scoring points and we couldn't do it."
The War Eagles slowed the ballgame down in the second half.
"Starkville is a good team and we slowed it down to keep it out of Starkville's hands," Wayne County head coach Ronald Norman said.
Wayne County was led by Worsham with 23 points. Avery Woodson chipped in 11 points.
Ware led SHS with 12 points and Mike Brand added seven points.
The Jackets ended the season with a 26-5 record.