Fal­cons rally late to beat Jack­ets

Starkville Daily News - - HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL - By ROB­BIE FAULK sports@starkvilledai­lynews.com

COLUM­BUS — It ap­peared for three quar­ters that Starkville High was play­ing spoiler on Colum­bus se­nior Robert Woodard's big night.

The tal­ented small for­ward came out to mid court pre-game with his team­mates and an­nounced his in­ten­tions to play bas­ket­ball for Mis­sis­sippi State next sea­son.

SHS con­trolled the game from there with a 13-point lead head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

Woodard and his team­mates turned it on in the fi­nal min­utes of the game eras­ing that lead and hit­ting two free throws in the fi­nal sec­onds to steal one from the Jack­ets 64-62.

“Fourth quar­ter we went in the tank,” SHS head coach Greg Carter said. “We gave up way too many tran­si­tion points and too many free throws and we missed cru­cial 1-and-1's.”

Af­ter lead­ing 16-13 af­ter the first quar­ter, the Jack­ets car­ried a 16-2 run through the sec­ond with a bar­rage of three point­ers from Blake Rogers and Tyler Tal­ley to jump out to a 25-15 lead. They would close the half with back-to-back long made shots from those two play­ers and were up 36-23 at the half.

It was much of the same in the third quar­ter as SHS held steady with a 56-44 lead af­ter three quar­ters, but then the pres­sure got to the young guards.

Colum­bus started to chip away at the lead cut­ting it to 59-55 with over 4 min­utes left. With 1:45 re­main­ing, an em­phatic dunk had the game tied at 62 and the Fal­cons had all of the mo­men­tum.

The Jack­ets made a cru­cial reach in foul with 3.7 sec­onds left send­ing Colum­bus to the line and two free throws sealed it giv­ing the Fal­cons the win.

The length of the Fal­con front court that in­cluded Woodard seemed to cause trouble in the fi­nal quar­ter on the smaller SHS team.

“It may have hurt us in the fourth, but we didn't at­tack in the fourth like we did in the first three quar­ters,” Carter said. “When they came out and pres­sured us, we re­treated rather than at­tack.”

The Jack­ets were led by Tal­ley's 16 points though he man­aged just one point in the sec­ond half. Rogers fin­ished with 15 points and hit five three point­ers.

SHS (1-2) will con­tinue their sea­son on Thurs­day night when it hosts West Point.

Girls Game Starkville 46, Colum­bus 27

The Lady Jack­ets are in the mid­dle of de­fend­ing their Class 6A state cham­pi­onship and off to a 3-0 start with the cham­pi­onship tro­phy in their pos­ses­sion.

It might not have looked the part to open the first quar­ter as SHS and Colum­bus both strug­gled to score points and nei­ther team made a field goal un­til the 2:19 mark in the first quar­ter. The Lady Fal­cons had a 11-6 lead to end the first stanza, but that wouldn't last long.

“We were just able to un­der­stand that when we can't score, our de­fen­sive pres­sure will help us out,” Lady Jacket head coach Kristie Wil­liams said. “We're in our third game and we're com­ing out of the gates too slow. You can't get back to Jack­son play­ing three quar­ters. Ev­ery team is gun­ning for us and we've got to be able to step it up from start to fin­ish.”

The shots sud­denly be­gan to fall as SHS went on a 20-1 run to end the first half and took a 26-14 lead.

Jariyah Covington led all scor­ers with 17 points in the game and Tabreea Gandy had 14. Those are two three-year starters that Wil­liams is re­ly­ing heav­ily on this sea­son to bring her team through.

“We have a good chance to do some re­ally good things,” Wil­liams said. “We're go­ing to rely on the ex­pe­ri­ence of our guards and hope­fully our post play will get more com­fort­able and we'll be able to bal­ance it out each game. I'm ex­cited about this team.”

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