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November 12th, 2012
ACKERMAN â€“ Gary Beals knows that it is going to take plenty of hard work from this yearâ€™s Ackerman Lady Indians squad if they want to compete hard and achieve their goal of making the playoffs.
Losing tough seniors Vanessa Miller, Sarah Bowles and Kadesia Simmons certainly took something from Ackerman, but Beals says that â€śmost of the top six have played a lot.â€ť
Mississippi State is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, and the Bulldogs haven't been very good the past three seasons against this week's opponent.
The Bulldogs have lost to Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU in consecutive weeks. This week, they play Arkansas who has beaten the Bulldogs three straight years.
When Rick Ray took over the Mississippi State basketball team, he really didn't know what he had.
The Bulldogs finished 21-12 a season ago and lost in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament to Massachusetts in Starkville.
Ray has seen a different team since his arrival in Starkville.
Coach Vic Schaefer and his staff looks to lay a foundation with the Mississippi State women's basketball program that leads to a championship future.
While serving as an assistant on Gary Blair's staff at Texas A&M, that's what happened with the Lady Aggies.
It's an entirely new look for the Starkville Yellowjackets on the basketball court this season.
After losing players like Gavin Ware, Jacolby Mobley, Steven Brand and Mike Brand, who helped the Jackets make significant runs in the postseason the last three seasons, things are going to be different.
With two newcomers merging with the talent the Starkville Lady Yellowjackets already have on their roster, finding the right chemistry can mean a successful season.
The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers are not dwelling on the past.
Even though last year's team enjoyed a successful season that including three State titles (Class AAA-Division 2, Class AAA and Overall), the focus is on this year and the possibilities that rest with this group of Lady Vols.
Coach Mark Alexander said time will tell about the exact identity of the Starkville Academy Volunteers on the court this season.
He likes the way the Vols have prepared during the offseason, but a lack of depth and size may hamper their progress.
Losing leaders like Austin Kinard, Zach Thomas and Ben Lomen from last year's squad also hurts Starkville Academy.
Alex Thompson is putting what he's learned to use with the Starkville Christian School Cougars.
After two years of serving as the head coach of the junior varsity and gaining knowledge from former varsity coaches Jonathan Little and Mark Horstemeyer, Thompson believes he is ready to see what he can do for the Cougars.
Luke Buckner has a specific goal in mind for his first season as coach of the Starkville Christian Lady Cougars.
For a program that has found wins hard to come by over the last couple of seasons, Buckner believes there's enough talent at Starkville Christian to achieve a winning season.
"I believe we will if everything comes together," Buckner said.