Anna Lea Little (3) and the rest of the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers begin play in the Division II-AAA State Tournament today against Magnolia Heights in Columbus. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The opportunity this week presents is something the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers have been working toward since June.
Starkville Academy has never won a state championship in girls basketball, but that could change at Heritage Academy in Columbus.
The Lady Vols begin that quest today by playing Magnolia Heights. The tip is set for 4 p.m.
With an overall record of 29-5, Starkville Academy has been playing winning basketball for most of the season.
Wednesday is an elimination situation so the Lady Vols are faced with having to play well or have a season come to an abrupt end.
"Everybody is in the same position we are, but (the Lady Vols) are very focused and this is what they want," Starkville Academy coach Glenn Schmidt said. "You'll see a great effort this week."
Starkville Academy hasn't played Magnolia Heights this season. The Lady Vols participated in Magnolia Heights Tournament at Christmas, but didn't a go against the host team.
Even though the respect for Magnolia Heights is there, Schmidt said the key to success for SA is to focus on its own performance.
"It's about us," Schmidt said. "We want to concentrate on the things we do well which is push the ball up the floor a little, play real aggressive defense and rebound."
The Lady Vols lost their last game, a 35-33 decision to Jackson Academy on the road.
Starkville Academy shot 29 percent from the field in the game and it was not the first time the Lady Vols had a poor shooting outing.
Schmidt didn't seen to be too concerned about SA's shooting, only to say her team must play through anything that might happen.
"It's not detrimental," Schmidt said of the potential of bad shooting. "It's just been a couple of games. At this point of the season, you may peak or valley. I don't know if that's true or not. We've been able to not shoot as well and win, but against some teams it makes a difference. At this time of the year, you've just got to focus on playing your game and not be distracted by things going on around you."
With a win, the Lady Vols move on to a 2:15 p.m. matchup on Friday against an opponent to be determined.
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