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Lady Vols look to take another step

February 22, 2012

Starkville Academy's Anna Prestridge, right, plays against Presbyterian Christian earlier this season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Starkville Academy girls' basketball team may have won the Class AAA, Division II State Tournament this past weekend, but the season is far from over.

The Lady Volunteers travel to East Rankin Academy in Pelahatchie today to compete in the Class AAA State Tournament.

Starkville Academy meets Presbyterian Christian of Hattiesburg at 4 p.m.
With such a short turnaround for the Lady Vols, focus has to be a factor, but head coach Glenn Schmidt has seen all business from her team early in the week.

"I really didn't have to," Schmidt said of having to refocus her team. "We didn't have school on Monday, so we came in at 9 a.m. to practice and they were back to business as usual. They were very focused and very serious about it."

The players have taken it upon themselves to stay focused. Senior point guard Anna Prestridge liked how it felt to win a tournament already and wants that feeling to be there again.

"We really wanted to win and I think we will be really focused for this next game because we know the feeling of winning and we want that again for the next two tournaments," Prestridge said.

SA beat the Lady Bobcats twice this year, once at home and again on the road.

Trista Magee, the best player of PCS, suffered a season-ending injury before the Lady Vols played them at home, but the game was still close.
The gameplan does not expect to change with her out.

"Not going to change anything," Schmidt said. "We are going to play them like we play everybody. If we make adjustments during the game, it will be something we saw that we couldn't guard or needed to do. We will do whatever we have to do to win it, but going into the game, it's the same thing."

Senior April Burney does not expect anything to change and knows there will be someone to step up and take Magee's spot.

"It's not really going to change because they moved up one of their JV players," Burney said. "She is just as good as the girl who is injured. We are going to have to do the same thing we did the first two times to beat them a third time."

The Starkville Academy defense has played well all year and Prestridge has been right in the middle of it.

"We always stress defense because if they can't score, you have a better chance of winning," Prestridge said. "So we are going to be play our best defense and not let them get any easy baskets."

For Burney, this is an exciting time, because it is one no other Lady Vols basketball squad has experienced.

"It's really exciting because this is the first time girls have done it at Starkville Academy," Burney said. "Just to be able to do it and be the first ones is really exciting."

As for which player needs to stand out for the Lady Vols to move on, Schmidt did not single out anyone.

"Everybody that goes in," Schmidt said. "We have not singled out anybody all year. Everybody that plays is going to have to play a blue collar game. A hard working, rebounding, defensive grunt-type game on defense."

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