Starkville Christian Cougars continue to fight despite losses

Starkville Christian School's Tony Minor, left, and an official look toward the free-throw line.

Staff Writer

Wins may not be coming the way of the Starkville Christian Cougars right now, but basketball coach Luke Buckner likes the way they fight and handle themselves on the court.

Even though the Cougars lost a 45-34 decision to the Columbus Christian Rams on Friday night at home, Buckner had reason to be encouraged and sent that message to his team.

"I'm still proud of the way they played and I told the guys at halftime to not get all caught up in wins and losses right now," Buckner said. "Enjoy this moment, enjoy the game of basketball and glorify God. I think that's what they are trying to do."

Judah Buckner put the Cougars out in front 2-0 with the first basket of the game, but the Rams struck right back with a pair of scores of their own.

Starkville Christian was able to regain the advantage at 6-4 on another bucket by Buckner and two points from Tony Minor.

The first quarter went back and forth between the two teams and the Cougars were able to wrestle away the lead on scores by Ashton Huxford, Minor and Cole Gernaat. A free throw by Isaac Buckner got the game tied 15-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Jeremy Emerson had his own personal 7-0 run for Columbus Christian as the visitors established a 22-15 advantage and never lost the lead again. The Rams were up 30-22 at halftime.

"Tony had a hard time getting hot," coach Buckner said. "We started off the game really well and it was different than the last time we played them. We had the lead early. They kept fighting and our shots wouldn't fall. We got wore out too."

Judah Bucker was the only Starkville Christian player to score in double digits with 10 points, while Minor added nine points and Isaac Buckner contributed eight points.

Girls Game
Columbus Christian 58,
Starkville Christian 37

Much like the boys game, the Lady Cougars started strong with a 4-0 lead, but couldn't sustain the momentum as the Lady Rams took control in the second quarter.

Several shots for Starkville Christian fell off the mark, which could have made a difference.

"I'm sure we had 20 missed layup opportunities," coach Buckner said. "They fought and had to fight to be in the game until the finish. We just made some errors and didn't finish on some layups that really hurt us."

Tanner Smith and Emma Hicks opened the game with baskets to give the Lady Cougars their early advantage, but Columbus Christian went on a 9-0 run to gain a 9-4 advantage.

After another basket by Hicks cut the margin to 9-6, the Lady Rams scored the final four points of the first quarter to move out to a 13-6 spread.

Columbus Christian went on to lead 29-16 at halftime and 46-26 after three quarters.

Hicks and Smith had 10 points each for Starkville Christian.

Coach Buckner likes the progress of Hicks.

"She's steadily getting there," coach Buckner said. "This is only her second year of playing basketball. She is a soccer player and has natural abilities. She is getting more and more comfortable every night."

The Cougars are scheduled to be back at home Monday against the Jackson Victors.