Focused New Site eyes basketball title shot

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

New Site’s Lady Royals have played some of their best basketball during the postseason, reaching the state semifinals once and the state finals twice the last three seasons.
Head coach Byron Sparks expects nothing less from his 2012 club, which enters postseason play this week with a 22-4 record.
“Every kid on our team, with the exception of the freshmen, has played in a state tournament,” Sparks said Sunday. “We’ve gotten this program to the point where expectations are high.
“It would be a disappointment if we didn’t go to state.”
If anything, Sparks would like to see the Lady Royals’ fortunes change if they reach the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson this season. New Site has lost in the state championship game the last two years.
“I said earlier in the year I didn’t think we were playing up to our potential,” he said. “That’s changed the last few weeks. We are playing more focused. I think the players realize the playoffs are upon us.”
New Site, led by senior guard/forward Morgan Pearson, begins its postseason journey Thursday in the Division 1-2A tournament at Baldwyn. The Lady Royals, who’ve already locked up a berth in next week’s North Mississippi tournament, are playing for a division championship and top seeding next week.
“I don’t even know if my players know we’re playing next Monday,” Sparks said, then laughed. “We want to win the division tournament and go into North half as a No. 1 seed … give ourselves the best way to get to Jackson.”
BLUE DEVILS BACK
Booneville played one of it worst games last season in the Division 1-3A tournament championship game against Corinth.
However, coach Michael Smith’s Blue Devils absorbed the loss and went on to win six straight, including victories over the Warriors in the North finals and state championship game.
“Who would have thought we would have gone on that run after the loss to Corinth,” Smith said. “This is a new season. Anybody’s capable of beating anybody.”
Booneville, led by Keldrick Lesley and Kenny Paul Geno, defeated 2A power and rival Baldwyn 64-39 in its final regular-season game.
Booneville plays its 1-3A tournament opener Wednesday at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com

MHSAA Tournament This Week’s Schedule
DIVISION 1-1A
(At Booneville High)
Monday
(G) Thrasher vs. Jumpertown, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Pine Grove vs. Wheeler, 7 p.m.
(B) Thrasher vs. Pine Grove, 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday
(B) Blue Mountain vs. Falkner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Blue Mountain vs. Biggersville, 7 p.m.
(B) Jumpertown vs. Wheeler, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(B) Blue Mountain-Falkner winner vs. Thrasher-Pine Grove winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Biggersville vs. Jumpertown-Wheeler winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Falkner vs. Blue Mountain-Biggersville winner, 7 p.m.
(G) Thrasher-Jumpertown winner vs. Pine Grove-Wheeler winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-1A
(At H.W. Byers)
Tuesday
(G) Ashland vs. West Union, 4 p.m.
(B) Ingomar vs. West Union, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Myrtle vs. Ingomar, 7 p.m.
(B) Ashland vs. Myrtle, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Coldwater vs. Ashland-West Union winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Coldwater vs. Ashland-Myrtle winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) H.W. Byers vs. Myrtle-Ingomar winner, 7 p.m.
(B) H.W. Byers vs. Ingomar-West Union winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 4-1A
(At West Oktibbeha)
Tuesday
(G) Houlka vs. TCPS, 4 p.m.
(B) Tremont vs. Smithville, 5:30 p.m.
(G) West Oktibbeha vs. Smithville
(B) TCPS vs. Vardaman, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Tremont vs. West Oktibbeha-Smithville winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Houlka vs. Tremont-Smithville winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Vardaman vs. Houlka-TCPS winner, 7 p.m.
(B) West Oktibbeha vs. TCPS-Vardaman winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 1-2A
(At Baldwyn)
Tuesday
(G) Hamilton vs. East Union, 4 p.m.
(B) East Union vs. Hatley, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Hatley vs. Okolona, 7 p.m.
(B) Okolona vs. New Site, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Baldwyn vs. Hatley-Okolona winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Baldwyn vs. Okolona-New Site winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) New Site vs. Hamilton-East Union winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Hamilton vs. East Union-Hatley winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-2A
(At Calhoun City)
Tuesday
(G) Bruce vs. Strayhorn, 4 p.m.
(B) Hickory Flat vs. Strayhorn, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Potts Camp vs. Calhoun City, 7 p.m.
(B) Walnut vs. Potts Camp, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Walnut vs. Bruce-Strayhorn winer, 4 p.m.
(B) Bruce vs. Walnut- Potts Camp winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Hickory Flat vs. Potts Camp-Calhoun City winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Calhoun City vs. Hickory Flat-Strayhorn winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 1-3A
(At Northeast CC)
Tuesday
(B) Ripley vs. Belmont, 4 p.m.
(G) Booneville vs. Kossuth, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Alcorn Central vs. Holly Springs, 7 p.m.
(B) Alcorn Central vs. Kossuth, 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday
(G) Belmont vs. Booneville-Kossuth winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Booneville vs. Alcorn Central-Kossuth winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Ripley vs. Holly Springs-Alcorn Central winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Holly Springs vs. Ripley-Belmont winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-3A
(At Aberdeen)
Tuesday
(G) Mantachie vs. Aberdeen, 4 p.m.
(B) Water Valley vs. Mantachie, 5:30 p.m.
(G) South Pontotoc vs. Water Valley, 7 p.m.
(B) Nettleton vs. South Pontotoc, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Mooreville vs. South Pontotoc-Water Valley winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Mooreville vs. Nettleton-South Pontotoc winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Nettleton vs. Mantachie-Aberdeen winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Aberdeen vs. Water Valley-Mantachie, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 1-4A
(At Itawamba CC)
Tuesday
(G) Tishomingo County vs. Amory, 4 p.m.
(B) IAHS vs. Amory, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Shannon vs. Corinth, 7 p.m.
(B) Tishomingo County vs. Pontotoc, 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday
(G) IAHS vs. Tish County-Amory winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Corinth vs. IAHS-Amory winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Pontotoc vs. Shannon-Corinth winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Shannon vs. Tish County-Pontotoc winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-4A
(At New Albany)
Tuesday
(G) Lafayette vs. Tunica Rosa Fort, 4 p.m.
(B) Lafayette vs. Senatobia, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Senatobia vs. Lewisburg, 7 p.m.
(B) North Pontotoc vs. Lewisburg, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) New Albany vs. Senatobia-Lewisburg winner, 4 p.m.
(B) New Albany vs. North Pontotoc-Lewisburg winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) North Pontotoc vs. Lafayette-Rosa Fort winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Tunica Rosa Fort vs. Lafayette-Senatobia winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 4-4A
(At Noxubee County)
Tuesday
(G) Kosciusko vs. Houston, 4 p.m.
(B) Houston vs. Leake Central, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Noxubee County vs. Caledonia, 7 p.m.
(B) Caledonia vs. Kosciusko, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Leake Central vs. Kosciusko-Houston winner, 4 p.m.
(B) Noxubee County vs. Houston-Leake Central winner, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Louisville vs. Noxubee County-Caledonia winner, 7 p.m.
(B) Louisville vs. Caledonia-Kosciusko winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys Consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Championship, 7 p.m.
Boys Championship, 8:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-5A
(At Oxford)
Tuesday
(G) West Point vs. New Hope, 4 p.m.
(B) Saltillo vs. Oxford, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Saltillo vs. Oxford, 7 p.m.
(B) West Point vs. New Hope, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Championship, 6 p.m.
Boys Championship, 7:30 p.m.

DIVISION 3-5A
(At Neshoba Central)
Tuesday
(G) Canton vs. Yazoo City, 6 p.m.
(B) Starkville vs. Nesboba Central, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday
(G) Starkville vs. Neshoba Central, 6 p.m.
(B) Yazoo City vs. Canton, 7:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Championship, 6 p.m.
Boys Championship, 7:30 p.m.

DIVISION 2-6A
(At Columbus)
Tuesday
(G) Tupelo vs. South Panola, 4 p.m.
(B) Tupelo vs. South Panola, 5:30 p.m.
(G) Grenada vs. Columbus, 7 p.m.
(B) Grenada vs. Columbus, 8:30 p.m.
Friday
Girls Championship, 6 p.m.
Boys Championship, 7:30 p.m.