April Burney was one of five Lady Vol seniors playing their last home game Tuesday. (SDN file photo)
The Starkville Academy girls' basketball team did something that is rare in sports.
The Lady Volunteers beat the Heritage Lady Patriots 67-32 to go 12-0 for the season on their home court Tuesday night.
"It was such a good night for our seniors to win their last game and go 12-0 on their home court," head coach Glenn Schmidt said of senior night. "It means a lot to them."
The Lady Vols celebrated the careers of five seniors. Brittany Jacks, Julianne Jackson, April Burney, Anna Prestridge and Lauren Atwell all drew starts in their last regular season game at SA Gymnasium.
As they left the court for the last time, Schmidt was there to give each a hug.
"They have been with us since 7th grade, except for Julianne Jackson and Anna Prestridge," Schmidt said. "Anna came in from Parklane her 10th grade year. Julianne came in from home school her 10th grade year. I have got a lot of history with them. We have been up and down the road a lot. They have come a long way. They can all play."
SA fell behind early at 4-2. That was the last time the Lady Patriots led.
The Lady Vols went on a 10-0 run to take back the lead and end the first quarter.
Junior Anna Lea Little was on fire as she knocked down four 3-point shots in a stretch over the second and third quarters.
"Anna Lea, she finally got hot," Schmidt said. "I thought she'd cooled off a little bit, but she finally threw some in. They didn't guard her. They left her wide open out there."
The undefeated home slate was something that Schmidt didn't want her players to think about too much.
It wasn't until late in the year when she let her players know they had a chance to stay perfect at home.
"I didn't talk to the players about it," Schmidt said. "I don't talk to the players about winning and losing anything. But when we beat Presbyterian Christian here a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to them that they had a chance to go undefeated on their home floor. That meant they had to bet Parklane and Heritage."
Little led the Starkville Academy with 16 points. Sophomore Sallie Kate Richardson added 12 points.
The Lady Vols improve to 28-3 overall and 11-0 in conference play for the season.
Heritage Academy 50,
Starkville Academy 44
Although the Volunteers did not get a win, it may be a night one young man never forgets.
Senior Calvin Young was hurt early in the season and has missed a majority of games, but he got his 15 seconds of fame.
With 19.9 seconds remaining in the ballgame and the Patriots leading 50-42, head coach Mark Alexander put in Young to give him a moment he will never forget.
He made a layup.
"It was something I thought about last night," Alexander said of letting Young get some playing time. "I didn't tell anybody. I didn't tell coach Schmidt and I didn't tell him. I agreed with the coach before the game and he agreed to let me do it. I just wanted to do that for him. A kid that transfered from Starkville High. Season lost, I just thought it was the right thing to do to let him get in and score a basket."
The Volunteers fell behind early at 12-3. They went on a 12-0 run to take the lead at 15-12. Jon Michael Robinson made a buzzer beater 3-pointer to give SA the lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Volunteers continued their good play and took a 25-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Patriots came out in the third quarter and regained the lead. They went on a 9-0 run to take a 30-25 lead. They entered the fourth quarter ahead 39-34.
"We fell behind quick right off the jump, and then we were able to recover and make some shots," Alexander said. "We played good the first and second quarter. Kind of the same old story. We came out third quarter and just fell apart. We looked like a whole different team. We didn't stay in the locker room but 30 seconds. I just said, 'hey let's get back out there.' Other than that third quarter, I thought we played great."
The Volunteers recognized six seniors. Along with Young, Zachary Gerhart, Robinson, Kyle Loman, Austin Kinard and Zack Thomas played their final game at home.
"They have meant a lot," Alexander said. "That was my big thing tonight, I wanted to send them out with a win. We have had a long season and it would have meant so much to them if they had been able to win this game. Just came up short, like we have most of the year."
The Patriots were led by Cade Lott with 15 points. Brad Dickey and Bobby McGrath each had 12 points.
Carnail Minor led SA with 14 points. Loman chipped in 12 points. The Vols fell to 7-21 for the year.
Both SA squads will be back in action Friday night when they travel to Jackson Prep.
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