Young Jackets thrive to beat Falcons

Staff Writer

Success on the hardwood for the Starkville High School boys is thanks in large part to the foundation laid by head coach Greg Carter over the years, but the veteran coach also knows that it takes talent to win at a high level every year.

The talent for the Yellow Jackets comes through a pipeline of success that begins from an early age and those players are ready to make their impact when they hit the high school team as sophomores. That’s why it is no surprise to see the early success from the next round of players that have taken the place of players like Blake Rogers, Donte Powers and Jordan Temple.

After getting a big victory over Meridian last week to stay undefeated in the early season, Starkville utilized sophomores Jamarvis Phillips and Eric Green to lead it to a 62-49 win over rival Columbus. The coaches have recognized the talent this season from the youngsters and they’re putting them in position to make big plays.

“They’re accepting the challenge,” SHS assistant coach Ed Townsel said. “The couple that we’ve got in there we let them know from the jump that we needed them to play and they’ve ran with the opportunity.”

Phillips had a team-high 16 points in the victory for the Jackets and did it on 7-of-11 shooting. He was active on the boards as well and created some issues for the Falcons along the way. For Green, he scored 10 points, all of those coming in the fourth quarter when Starkville needed to seal the game.

For Phillips, he wasn’t happy with his performance against Meridian and was determined to correct some wrongs on Tuesday night. He felt he did just that, especially in the first half when he poured in 12 of his points.
“I wanted to come out better than last game because I didn’t do well," Phillips said. "I needed to rebound and defend and I think I did that. It was special to play in that environment and have a big role.”

The Jackets led almost the entirety of the contest and had an 18-9 lead after the first quarter thanks to three 3-pointers and five different players getting in on the scoring. They held that nine-point advantage heading to the locker room at 30-21.

Quickly in the third quarter, that lead was trimmed down to five points. Starkville needed to knock the halftime rust off and Townsel felt defense was the spot that needed to get the most work in to pull away.

So the Jackets turned it up a notch and it sparked an 8-0 run that allowed them a comfortable lead they held the rest of the game.

“They just were guarding and rebounding and that’s what we try to stress with them,” Townsel said of the second half improvements. “We haven’t been challenged by on offense yet so guarding and rebounding is the big thing and I think we did that in the fourth quarter.”

Along with the sophomores in double figures was senior Jamarrion Brown, who had 11 points.

At 3-0, Starkville will be back in action on Thursday at West Point.