PREP NOTEBOOK: New state tourney format on horizon

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

Baldwyn coach Jason McKay wants more high school basketball players – girls and boys – to experience the MHSAA state tournament.

His wish is close to becoming a reality.

The MHSAA legislative and executive councils passed McKay’s proposal last week to expand the state tournament field to as many as eight teams – four North, four South in classes 2A through 5A. The field would be six teams – three and three – for the classes with the smaller number of schools – 5A and 6A.

“With the vibes I’m getting, I’m comfortable it’s going to work out,” said McKay, who has seen two previous tournament expansion proposals die. “The amount of people who voted for it was a major hurdle. This time there will have to be a lot to go against it.”

The vote at the fall meeting on the proposal was: 34-4 legislative council and 10-3 executive committee.

The proposal, if passed a second time in the MHSAA’s February 2014 meeting, would become policy for the 2014-15 school year and beyond.

The proposed playoff format for reaching an eight-team state basketball tournament would be as follows, using north Mississippi as the example. This format eliminates the North and South state tournaments.

Four teams from each of the four northern divisions would advance – coming out of a division tournament – to a round of 16. The top-seeded teams would host in that round.

The surviving eight teams would then play, with the four winners advancing to the state tournament. The host teams for the round of eight would be determined either by their seeding or a pre-determined format if the two opponents were seeded the same.

Booneville plans to honor Jim Drewry

Mississippi’s all-time winningest public school football coach, Jim Drewry, will be honored Oct. 18 in Booneville.

Drewry, who retired following the 2009 season, coached 50 years with stops in Booneville, Brandon, Kossuth and Tishomingo, has a career record of 346-157-5 with three state titles.

Drewry will be honored at a couple of functions prior to Booneville’s home game against Mooreville. All of his former players are urged to attend.

Female lineman starts for Falkner Jr. High team

The Southern Sentinel reported last week that seventh grader Sarah Mason – a female – starts at right guard on Falkner Junior High’s football team.

Mason is the only seventh grader starting for the team. She played two years as an offensive lineman in Tippah County’s youth league and plans to eventually play high school football.

“I love football; it’s just really fun,” said Mason, who has played on the defensive front, too.