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Smith Column: Region change provides new tests for SHS

December 4, 2010

By DANNY P. SMITH
sdnsports@bellsouth.net

Lookout Starkville High School, athletic teams from Yazoo City, Provine, Callaway, Lanier and others are coming to a sports venue near you real soon.
After the new classifications of the Mississippi High School Activities Association were announced last month, the distribution of schools within regions was released on Thursday.
Starkville, which drops down to Class 5A next year, found out it will be grouped in Class 5A, Region 2 with Yazoo City, Canton, Neshoba Central, Lanier, Callaway, Provine and Ridgeland.
It was first thought that the Jackets were going to be placed in a region with New Hope and local rival West Point, but instead they got sent south.
A region including the Jackson schools appears to be pretty favorable when it comes to football competition. Starkville seems to surely be glad to trade out South Panola, Southaven and Olive Branch for Lanier, Callaway and Provine.
In basketball, it's not bad either because the Jackets won't have to play against Lanier, Callaway and Provine. The four-team region in hoops will only includes Starkville, Neshoba Central, Yazoo City and Canton.
Still the Jackets will have to make some pretty long road trips within the region during the week which concerns boy's basketball coach Greg Carter to some degree.
"I'm not all that thrilled about the travel, especially with two (Class 5A) schools within 30 minutes of us (West Point and New Hope), but whatever decision they've made, we've accepted it," Carter said. "We'll just get ready to play next year."
One would think Starkville could continue to thrive in basketball against the likes of Neshoba Central, Yazoo City and Canton, but it's understandable that Carter doesn't want to sound to over-confident.
It's the thought of the unknown that has Carter wondering how the situation is going to play out.
"It will be something different and something new," Carter said. "I don't know what it's going to be like being in that district because I've always been up north.
"I've been just waiting to see what will happen. We didn't know which way we'd be heading, either north or south."
It appears the Jackets are headed for another successful basketball season and looked pretty impressive Friday night in a 56-24 victory against Columbus.
No, Starkville doesn't have Rashad Perkins and Edward Townsel anymore, but it does have a good post player in Gavin Ware and several guards that can shoot the basketball.
If the Jackets can continue playing like they did against the Falcons, especially defensively, they shouldn't have any trouble winning the region in their curtain-call in Class 6A, Region 1 this season.

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.

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