By Brandon Speck
BIGGERSVILLE – The only thing little about Class 1A Biggersville is its coach’s last name. The 1A Lions are much bigger than their classification and they’re out to prove that … again.
The ultimate goal is a repeat celebration with the MHSAA Class 1A gold ball, but the path there is all about improvement. That is clear by a glance at the schedule.
“Last year doesn’t mean a cotton-picking thing,” Biggersville coach Cliff Little said. “Some roles have changed.”
Biggersville, which lost one player off the championship roster, plays Class 3A power Aberdeen twice in the first week of the season. There’s Corinth, Tupelo, Baldwyn and Blue Mountain.
“We’re playing a tough schedule, who knows what the record could be,” Little said. “We go on a seven-game stretch in December that we could lose seven in a row, and play well.”
Daniel Simmons gets a lot of the attention. The 6-foot-1 senior guard has an offer from Middle Tennessee State and has one of the best all-around games in Mississippi. But guard Jaylon Gaines averaged 15 points and 5.3 rebound per game last season and had 22 blocks. Darian Barnett took seven of the team’s 11 charges in the state tournament. There are more.
“Role players. Everybody has a role to play,” Gaines said, “Some more than others, some the same.”
There is another missing piece, a big one. Marcus Watson, a do-it-all double-double guy, is recovering from MCL surgery after a tear in the first football scrimmage. The Lions are hopeful for his return for the second half.
Simmons doesn’t see bigger schools on the opposing bench. He sees a team his team thinks it can beat. That attitude is helped by the powers around the Lions. Alcorn County opponent Corinth was the 4A runner-up. Baldwyn won it all in Class 2A. Tupelo is just two seasons removed from the 6A title game.
“We just come to play. We don’t play around when we get on the court,” Simmons said. “We come for business.”