COLUMBUS – The Starkville Lady Volunteers don't get in a hurry and they don't look ahead.
Following that plan has been a key to the success for the Lady Vols this season.
Starkville Academy took care of business in the first round of the Class AAA, Division 2 State Tournament at Heritage Academy by defeating the Magnolia Heights Lady Chiefs 72-28 Wednesday afternoon.
It was the 30th win for the Lady Vols as they improved their record to 30-5.
"We've been practicing really hard and decided to take it one game at a time," SA senior point guard Anna Prestridge said. "We weren't going to worry about next week because this was the game that mattered."
After the Lady Chiefs hit a pair of free throws to take a 2-0 lead, the Lady Vols went on a 14-0 run to take control of the game.
Starkville Academy girls coach Glenn Schmidt knew Magnolia Heights would be a determined opponent despite its 4-24 record.
"You are always nervous for a first-round game because it doesn't matter if you are 10-0 or 0-10, it's a brand new season," Schmidt said. "We were a little nervous at the beginning and a little jittery, but we settled down to play one of our better games."
The Lady Vols led 23-8 after the first quarter and 45-16 at halftime.
Anna Lea Little had 18 of her game-high 25 points in the first half for SA, but Schmidt was quick to point out how valuable Prestridge was on defense.
"Anna Prestridge pressured the ball," Schmidt said. "There's not a lot to say about it other than we did a lot of things well. The bench played well. When you are up 35 points, you are subbing and you have the bench playing as well as the first group, I am pleased with that."
Sallie Kate Richardson scored 11 points for the Lady Vols in the third quarter and finished with 21 points.
Starkville Academy advanced to a Friday meeting with Hillcrest Christian in the next round at 2:15 p.m.
SA has beaten Hillcrest twice this season, but Schmidt will try to impress upon her team to take another challenge seriously.
"They are 1-0 and we are 1-0 right now so we've got to work really hard," Schmidt said.