Starkville Jackets win battle of top-ranked teams

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

STARKVILLE – Without 6-foot-9 center Gavin Ware, Starkville still had plenty of firepower Tuesday night in a battle of top-ranked teams.
With its Mississippi State signee benched as a coach’s decision, top-ranked Class 5A Starkville beat top-ranked 3A Aberdeen 94-61, the most points the Bulldogs have given up.
Jacolby Mobley took over the scoring duties, leading the charge in the first half by hitting six 3-pointers on his way to 25 points.
He finished with 34 to lead four Jackets (14-2) in double figures. Steven Brand added 19, Tory Rice 13 and 18 boards, Stanley Childs 10 and Ravonte Gandy 12.
Aberdeen starting forward Elliot Johnson left the game early in the first quarter after hitting the ground hard on a block attempt.
“Once Elliot Johnson went down, it’s like the air came out of us,” Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said. “Defensively we didn’t get where we were supposed to get. We didn’t talk. We didn’t have that intensity, that drive, that desire we normally have on defense.”
The Bulldogs (13-4) had trouble holding onto the ball while Mobley had trouble missing from behind any part of the arc.
Aberdeen scored the first seven points of the third quarter with the help of a technical foul but that’s as close as it got.
In the loss, Shedrick Fair scored 13 and Jakeese Walker 10.
After a 10-2 Jackets run in the opening quarter, Mobley rattled off Starkville’s next 10 points.
“I knew we were all going to step up and play. I just tried to bring my A-game,” Mobley said.
(G) Starkville 64, Aberdeen 43: Tied at 29 at the half, Starkville (8-7) pulled away in the third, outscoring Aberdeen 17-7.
Imane Montgomery had 18 for Starkville; Raven Love had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Aberdeen (3-9).