It is that time of the season where one loss can end a team's season.
Starkville High School basketball teams will be competing in the Class 5A, Region 3, District 4 tournament in Philadelphia at Neshoba Central High School this week.
The boys' team earned the No. 1 seed in the district and will open up the tournament tonight at 7:30 p.m. against host school Neshoba Central.
The Yellowjackets finished the regular season with a 21-3 overall mark and a 5-1 record in district play.
SHS won the state tournament two years ago and made an appearance in the state tournament a season ago.
The Jackets are looking to get back there and are taking things one step at a time.
"The playoffs is a process," SHS head coach Greg Carter said. "The first phase is a district tournament. We are looking to win and move onto the first round of playoffs."
The Jackets are led by Mississippi State signee and senior Gavin Ware. Mike Brand, Steve Brand and Jacolby Mobley are seniors who are also helping to lead the way.
Carter knows his team is excited about postseason play and hopes they understand it is a new season
"They are excited," Carter said. "It is a new season. Late January is the dog days of basketball. The season gets long. It wears on players physically and mentally. We are trying to get rejuvenated."
The Lady Jackets earned the No. 3 seed in the district and will also play Neshoba Central. They are set to tip on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Coach Kristie Williams' squad ended the regular season at 12-11 overall and 2-4 in the district.
The Lady Rockets beat the Lady Jackets twice in the regular season.
"We are hoping that the third time is the charm," Williams said. "The senior night game was hard fought. A couple of turnovers and easy baskets won that game for Neshoba Central."
Starkville is practicing like it could be their last of the season. A win Thursday night guarantees at least two more games.
"Sense of urgency," Williams said of how the feeling is around her team. "We are going to go out and play hard. We have a great opportunity to win. We are hoping to come away with a victory."
The girls championship game will be played Friday at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow.
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