There’s only one senior night in your high school career.
Tuesday night was that one for 13 Yellowjackets playing in their final regular season game in the Beehive.
Coach Greg Carter’s boys opened in rather slow fashion when compared to their usual fast starts. The style of play and emotions of the evening simply affected the Yellowjackets.
“The way the game started, with the senior festivities, kind of left us emotionless in the first half, so we were a little flat,” said Carter of his team that improved to 21-3 with a 76-44 win over Neshoba Central.
“The way they play they kind of take the air out of it a little bit, making you defend for long periods of time. That kind of keeps you from playing with a lot of emotion too. But we executed, we ran and still scored. We were able to fight through it and build a pretty good lead at halftime.”
Starkville led at the half 40-22 thanks in large part to senior Jacolby Mobley who scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half.
In the second half, SHS began to push the tempo in transition and began to pull away.
“We’ve been playing against slower paced teams here lately that I don’t know if we will be ready for a fast-paced game,” Carter said with a laugh. “It seems like every team we’ve played here lately has slowed it down a lot, but we are getting ready to face Aberdeen and normally they like to get it and go.”
The win secures the No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs to be play at Neshoba Central on Tuesday Feb. 7. The contest will be a rematch of Tuesday night’s game and that’s something Carter hopes his team made note of.
“The offense they run, they way they screen you, you’ve got to continually guard them,” he said. “You’ve got to be talking on defense to keep up with all the cutting and screening they do. We need to make a mental note of that heading into next week.”
As for senior night, Carter admitted there were some unexpected emotions coming to the players as they prepared to take their home court for the final time.
“They really did want to play well," Carter said. "It got pretty emotional in the stairwell right before they got called out. Guys started thinking about how short this high school career really is and how quickly it is all over so they really wanted to go out and play well.”
For the night, Tory Rice followed Mobley in scoring with 17 points while Gavin Ware and Steven Brand added 12 and 11 points respectively.
The Starkville High School boys will be back in action on Friday night as they travel to Aberdeen to take on the Bulldogs.
Neshoba Central 68,
Senior night for the Starkville High School girls led to a thrilling ballgame that didn’t end as they wanted.
The game was simply a game of runs.
The Lady Rockets opened the contest in aggressive fashion with guard Victoria Stewart setting pace pushing their lead to as many as eight. However, Brittany Brown, who led all scorers with 25 points, and the Lady Yellowjackets answered with a run of their own to take a one-point lead into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, Starkville extended its lead slightly before the Rockets took control of the game, but just like the first half, Starkville answered climbing to within three points with under 2 seconds remaining.
Brown received the inbounds pass from Jacqueline Fair but couldn’t get the final bucket to go down and the Lady Jackets fell to 11-11 for the season.
Like their counterparts, the SHS girls face the Lady Rockets in a rematch of Tuesday’s action in the first round of the playoffs. The Lady Jackets will be in playoff action at Neshoba Central on February 9.