The Starkville High School boys' basketball team looks to complete the season on a positive note in the Big House this week with the Class 5A State Championship.
Today, the Yellowjackets take on Wayne County in the first round of the state tournament at 8 p.m. A victory ensures a place in the state title game on Saturday.
SHS boys coach Greg Carter has seen the War Eagles on tape and notes that they have some good star players and a good supporting cast.
"I have seen them on tape a little bit," Carter said. "They have got two Dandy Dozen players. They are pretty good. Their supporting players are not that bad either."
The Jackets have had over a week to prepare for this game. They have specifically prepared for Wayne County and have been working on what they think it's going to take to beat the War Eagles.
"First of all, we've been working on being able to handle their pressure and pace of the game," Carter said. "They force you to speed up and play fast."
In the Class 5A North Half title game, the Jackets fell to Callaway after leading at halftime.
There has not been much talk about that game over the past week. They have set their sights on Wayne County but knows teams will use Callaway's blue print of beating them.
Carter has dared his players to step up and take the challenge.
"We talked about right after that game was over," Carter said. "Since then we have moved on. We can't go back and change the outcome. We can prepare for people to play us the same way. I don't expect Wayne County to play the whole game like Callaway did, but I expect them to try it. We got to be able to respond to it. We have to come together
and execute when that game is on the line."
The Jackets have grown accustomed to playing in Jackson at this time of the year.
Two years ago, SHS won the Class 6A State Championship and a year ago, it made it the state tournament.
The thought of playing in the Big House does not make Carter's team nervous. The Jackets are looking at this contest as just another game.
"That's the way we have been approaching it, as just another game," Carter said. "I don't think anybody is really getting ahead of themselves as far as playing in the (Mississippi) Coliseum because we have done it before. We are approaching it as no big deal playing in the coliseum, but there is a lot at stake."