Smith on Sports: SHS girls add to tradition with state title

Danny P. Smith
Staff Writer

Starkville High School has a long tradition of success in the sport of basketball.

The state championships may not have come as frequently as they have at other places, but there aren't many years that either the boys or girls teams have missed a trip to Jackson at the end of the year for the state tournament. This season, both the Yellowjackets and Lady Jackets played at the Mississippi Coliseum (a.k.a. the Big House).

The SHS girls were able to claim the Class 6A State championship for the second-straight season after defeating Region 3 rival Murrah 46-27 Saturday night. It was a tremendous defensive outing for coach Kristie Williams' Lady Jackets. As good as they were all season defensively, Starkville may have saved its best performance for when it mattered most.

After being awarded the state title last year because Olive Branch had to give it up for using an ineligible player. the Lady Jackets earned the gold ball trophy on the court in impressive fashion.

Starkville has built momentum over the years under the direction of Williams and it was good to see the Lady Jackets walk off the court with a smile on their face and trophy in hand.

Williams joins the late coach Sam Parker as the only girls coaches at SHS to capture multiple state championships with two each. Parker's Lady Jackets won state crowns in 1968 and 1970. Coach Glenn Schmidt also won a state championship at SHS in 1992.

On the boys side, Greg Carter also had two state titles to his credit in 2010 and 2015.

Those followed the first one for the Jackets in 1961.

Carter's SHS group made another good run in the state tournament this season by reaching the semifinals. The Jackets lost at that point to eventual state champion Columbus 44-34, but it seems Carter as much as he could out of his players once again.

Williams and Carter have done a great job in the last few years in keeping basketball competitive at SHS.

The school should use quite a bit of Jacket pride when it comes to supporting its basketball programs.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.