It didn't take long for the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers to knock off the rust of the Christmas break.
The Lady Vols were off and rolling again by defeating the Lamar School Lady Raiders 74-36 at home Saturday.
Facing a tough basketball team, Starkville Academy coach Glenn Schmidt is proud of the way her team performed.
“It is great to start the New Year with a win and that’s a pretty good basketball team,” Schmidt said. “They haven’t lost many games. They do really well in the division that they are in. It was great to get off to a good start.”
The Lady Vols got out to a fast start as the team scored the first five points of the game.
“We want to get out to a fast start,” Schmidt said. “We are better that way. We go to what I call ‘whoever gets the rebound goes’ and it speeds us up.
“You have Tiffany (Huddleston), Maggie (Proffitt), Nora (Kathryn Carroll) and Anna Leigh (Little) out in the lanes and Sallie Kate (Richardson), and they can all handle the ball fairly well right now. To speed the game up, we do that sometimes.”
Every member of the Lady Vols’ starting five found the basket during the first period, including Huddleston who at the 3:43 mark stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for the easy bucket.
Carroll opened the second period with a jumper from the baseline to extend the lead 24-10
Carroll continued second period scoring with a 3-point field goal from the top of the key, before Proffitt hit a 3 to give Starkville Academy a 34-17 lead with 4:47 remaining in the half.
Lamar’s Natalie Williams sunk the final basket of the first half as Starkville Academy carried a 44-25 lead into the locker rooms.
Six different Lady Vols scored during the third period of action. Proffitt, Richardson, Taylor Campbell, Janiece Pigg and Alex McCafferty all posted scores from the floor, while Carroll scored from behind the arc.
Starkville Academy’s defense dominated competition during the final period. With the offense posting 16 points, the Lady Vols secured the victory on defense by holding the Lady Raiders to one basket in the period.
The defensive stand by Starkville Academy came as no shock to its coach who knows the talent her team possesses on both sides of the ball.
“We are always moving, we are always switching, we are always talking and that keeps us going,” Schmidt said. “Our defense, I know people won’t believe it, is where we want our bread and butter to be. We are putting up a lot of points. A lot of those (points) are generated because of the way we play defense.”
Coming out of winter break, it would have been easy for the Lady Vols to be flat, but that was not the case as Starkville Academy shot 58.8 percent from the field and was 7-for-14 from 3-point range, as they left the court with a victory.
“I think we did well coming off the break," Schmidt said. "We had a good weekend at Senatobia the weekend before and you always worry about the layoff. We gave them four days off because we thought they deserved and needed it. We worked them pretty hard for two days and we expected them to be flat, but they weren’t. A lot of that is because Huddelston’s got the ball and she’s a go-go-go-go player. I’m real pleased with the way we responded.”
Proffitt finished the action as the team’s leader by going 10-for-12 from the floor, including shooting 3-for-5 from behind the arc. The senior posted 26 points and provided eight rebounds for the Lady Vols.
Carroll was the second-leading Starkville Academy scorer. Carroll pulled down three rebounds and went 6-for-9 from field goal range for 14 points.
Little rounded out Starkville Academy’s top three scorers. She went 2-for-5 from behind the arc for 12 points.
Olivia Mabry led the way for Lamar picking up 20 points for the Lady Raiders.
“Mabry is a very good basketball player and we have been playing against her probably five years," Schmidt said. "She was good enough to start and play as a very young player. I thought we did a good job. We knew she would score and we contained her.”
Things will not get any easier as Starkville Academy prepares to head into the final stretch of the regular season. Up next the Lady Vols will be on the road for a Friday matchup with Presbyterian Christian.
“We have some big customers coming up and we need some, so we will see how we respond when somebody guards us, jumps off of our screens like we jump off of screens, and when somebody really blocks us out," Schmidt said. "I think we are very, very close. We have so much confidence in our offense, that if it doesn’t work, we will remember that we do play defense too.”
Starkville Academy won the junior high girls game to Lamar School 42-12. Sydney Parsons scored in double digits for the Lady Vols with 10 points, while Adrienne Futral was next with nine points.