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SMITH COLUMN: Senior moments are happening at area schools

January 29, 2012


There have been some senior moments happening around the area and more are on the way.

It was an important night for the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves on Friday night as they clinched the top seed in the Class A, Region 4, District 1 and reached the 20-win mark this season by defeating Tremont 83-58.

Senior night was definitely worth celebrating as senior Kendrin Yates had one point for every win as he dropped 20 for the Timberwolves.

West Oktibbeha coach Danny Crawford has built a consistent winner in Maben over the last two or three years and this may be his best team yet.

The Timberwolves take a 20-6 record into next week's non-division games against Columbus and New Hope. Those will be two tough opponents to face in getting ready for the region tournament, which will be held right in Maben.

Starkville Christian School completed its season last Thursday on a winning note by defeating Grace Christian 68-36.

The Cougars honored their only senior Paul Michael Calhoun, while Hannah Horstmeyer was recognized with the girls team prior to tipoff of the boys game.

Calhoun had a reputation of playing better as games progress and that was definitely the case in his final outing. He scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half against Grace.

It wasn't just the scoring that made Calhoun special, but it's his willingness to get teammates involved in the game and his all-out hustle. At times, he risks injury by diving to save a basketball from going out of bounds.

The crowd at SCS appreciated Calhoun's effort as he received a standing ovation after coming out of the game at the 4:27 mark of the fourth quarter.

Expect more of the same this week as several area schools celebrate senior nights on Tuesday and Friday.

Starkville High School and Starkville Academy both hold its special activities on Tuesday.

The SA Lady Volunteers look to complete an undefeated season at home when they host Heritage Academy, the rival from across the river.

Among the seniors playing their last game with the Lady Vols is point guard Anna Prestridge, who has been the glue to hold the team together the past several years. The other SA girl seniors are Brittany Jacks, Julianne Jackson, April Burney and Lauren Atwell.

Looking to go out on a winning note for the SA boys are seniors Zachary Gerhart, Jon Michael Robinson, Kyle Loman, Austin Kinard and Zack Thomas. Coach Mark Alexander has depended on this group for leadership this season.

As far as the Yellowjackets, one senior is hard to miss in post player Gavin Ware, who has already signed with Mississippi State.

Ware had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds on Friday night to help SHS beat Yazoo City 54-34, a very valuable victory in Class 5A, Region 3, District 4.

Other seniors like sharp-shooting Jacolby Mobley of the Jackets and Brittany Brown of the Lady Jackets will be playing their final games at the Beehive Tuesday night.

Ackerman and Eupora also hold senior night games on Friday.
These are special events to show how much the players who have poured their heart and soul into a team for many years mean to programs.

The celebrations for coaches, teammates and family is good to see.

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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