PREP NOTEBOOK: Banged-up Banko ends soccer career



Daily Journal

Tupelo senior defender Abbie Banko paid a painful price playing soccer.

During high school and select playing career she has suffered two broken arms, fractured knee, strained knee ligament, knee contusion, damaged ankle ligaments and a fractured back.

Banko, who missed most of this season with the ankle injury, suffered a knee injury (contusion, strain) in her second game back. She played some extended minutes in Wednesday’s state semifinals loss to Madison Central.

“I love soccer, but my body has had about as much as it can take,” Banko said Thursday. “I tried to play (against M.C.), but it was pretty painful. My doctor didn’t want me to play.”

She committed to play for Troy, but later decided her playing career was over. “For the first time in my life I’d like to be a normal student,” she said.

“It’s tough to hear,” said her mom, Debbie Banko. “She still loves it, but her body is tired. I think she’s just discouraged and needs a break.”

Banko is one of eight area players selected for the Feb. 15 Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Game. She will attend, but not play.

The North girls roster has Tupelo’s Charde Hannah, Amory’s Bailey Boyd and New Albany’s Katelyn Watson. Tupelo’s Kevin “KJ” Armstrong and Forrest Timmons have been selected to the boys team along with Oxford’s Ty Barber and Amory’s Ty Young.

Noles’ Jeremy Duke will coach all-stars

Smithville coach Jeremy Duke was recently selected the Class 1A/2A/3A head coach for this summer’s annual Mississippi Association of Coaches Fast Pitch All-Star Game.

The game will be played June 7 in Ellisville.

Duke led the Lady Seminoles to the MHSAA Class 1A fast pitch crown.

Regular season ending, postseason up next

We’re closing in on the final week of the high school basketball season – Feb. 10-15.

The division tournaments are scheduled to start Feb. 17 and go through Feb. 22.

The opening round of North Mississippi tournament play is scheduled for Feb. 24 (girls) and Feb. 25 (boys). The North finals are scheduled for Feb. 28.

This year’s state tournament, the last to feature four teams, is scheduled for March 7-15 at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

Journal’s Fantasy 5

If you were playing Northeast Mississippi Fantasy basketball, these are players you would have won with last week.

Compiled by Jeff Roberts, stats taken from games played from Jan. 27-Feb. 1, called in to the Daily Journal, as well as from MaxPreps.

Check back next week.


1. Breanna Williams, Sr., G, Falkner: 35 ppg., 3 3s per game, 3 spg., 40 of 105 points were FTs

2. Claire Golding, So., G, TCPS: 25 ppg., 7 rpg., 5 spg., 83 percent FT

3. Baylee Turner, Kossuth: 28 ppg.

4. Lane Kennedy, Jr., G/F, Smithville: 18 ppg., 15 rpg., 3 spg., 45 total reb.

5. Alontra Tucker, Sr., PG, Ashland: 15 ppg., 11 rpg., 5 apg., 7 spg., 2 bpg.


1. Britt Lindley, Sr., G, Pine Grove: 73 total points, 24 ppg, averaged 6 3-pointers per game

2. Jack Nichols, Sr., Booneville: 33 ppg.

3. Laquain Foster, Jr., G, Ingomar: 22 ppg., 8 rpg., 5 spg.

4. Chris Long, 6-5, So., C, Nettleton: 19 ppg., 13 rpg., 4 spg.

5. Armond Smith, 5-11, Sr., G, Nettleton: 8 ppg., 9 rpg., 8 apg., 3 spg.

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