| South Panola Cheerleaders @ National Competition, Orlando, Fla.
| The South Panola High School Cheerleaders placed No. 6 in the nation in Super Varsity competition at the Universal Cheerleading Association National Competition held in Orlando, Fla. this past weekend. This year’s cheer squad include Dixie Wingler, Carolyn O’Conner, Nikki Dillon,
Allie Ware, Ashley Robison, Kristin Geeslin, Hillari Plummer, Haley Crawford, Kelia Duarte, Jessica Durham, Lisa Park, Mary Wilson, Ashleigh Mason, Haley Hood, Courtney Abston, CiCi Carver, Shelby Patterson, Olivia Vick,
Jamie Battle, Kayla Champion, Hannah Jacobs, Joy Boyette, Bianca Smith, Alex Burney, Brittany Taylor, Jessica Fellows, Krystin Allen, Kasey Kelsay and Haylei Plummer. Coaches are Tammy Wilkinson, Misty Kilgore, Angela Hannaford and Trey Griffin.
| In their first ever trip to national competition, the South Panola Jr. High School Cheerleaders placed No. 5 in the nation at the Universal Cheerleading Association National Competition held in Orlando, Fla. this past weekend. Squad members include Katelyn Meek, Olivia Battle, Kristen Olsen, Meredith Gentry, Jessica Gentry, Kayla Copeland,
Fisher Sullivan, Ashley Roberson, Meagan Gazaway,
Kris Pitcock, Blair Wilkinson, Kelsey Champion, Carly Baker, Anna Baglan, Meghan Mason, Amber Sharp, Misty Clay, Cecily Williams, Cassi Barbee, Madison Tutor, Alicen McGee.
| Battier received warmly on first return to Memphis since trade despite Rocket 98-90 win
| By Angie Ledbetter
The Memphis Grizzlies continue to experience some tough times but are not giving up on the season.
Another disappointing loss was added to the record when the Grizzlies hosted the Houston Rockets (31 – 17) at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday, February 6. They came up short
98 – 90.
The 12,496 fans were there to cheer them on and help them to just keep playing.
The starting line up for the Rockets included former Grizzlie No. 31 Shane Battier (F) and No. 55 Dikembe Mutombo and No. 1 Tracy McGrady.
Pau Gasol, center for the Grizzlies, made all-time franchise leader for field goals with 2,791. This is his fifth year as a pro after being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2001, 1st round (third overall). Gasol has mentioned to the Grizzlies’ franchise about being traded to another team.
When asked about it, he said that it had come up. The fans have not been happy with him as the word got out.
He said that he would continue to go out and play his best and contribute to his team as much as he could. Gasol is from Barcelona, Spain.
The only time the Grizzlies outscored the Rockets was in the third quarter when they put up 31 points to the Rocket’s 25.
Leading the team with 30 points was Gasol. He also had 13 rebounds, five assists, and five blocks.
Mike Miller scored 12 points, had five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Lawrence Roberts scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
As the Rockets were introduced, Battier received a warm welcome from the fans. When his name was called out, the fans cheered for him and most even stood up for him. His first time back after being traded was a very welcoming one. Battier had 14 points in the game, six rebounds, and one steal.
Tracy McGrady was the leading scorer with 33 points. He also had six rebounds, eight assists and one steal.
There were only two lead changes in the game and they were tied five times. The biggest lead was 13 for the Rockets and two for the Grizzlies.
| Season finally ends with big win
By William Correro
Now that Peyton’s won the big one the naysayers can please find someone else to pick on.
Why not Mike Vick? This idiot tried to fly out of Miami – where they specialize in smuggling intervention – carrying a water bottle with a hidden compartment with evidence of marijuana in it. How dumb can one be? I don’t approve of any of that of course but with a contract totaling over one hundred and sixty million, charter a private jet. These ASA people at airport security have no sense of humor. That’s fine with me because every time I fly I like to see people taking a serious interest in their jobs.
We are fans of both Peyton and Eli around here. I know both and their dad from my SEC work but my own father has a close tie to the Manning family. When he was in high school in Drew one of his after-school and summer jobs was driving trucks for Buddy Manning, Archie’s father.
It was such a shame that Buddy never got to see the successes of his son and now his grandchildren. Rick Cleveland, of the Clarion Ledger had a great piece the week before the Super Bowl on the Manning family and Archie’s love and affection shown with his family. My dad was always the same way with us and that’s how it is now with my family. Buddy Manning took his own life and denied his family of a lot of love. I’m very thankful for having my father around these days and for our God allowing me to be here with mine.
The Super Bowl commercials are usually pretty good as far as commercials go but I have to say this year’s crop bordered on lame. Nothing worth running the TIVO back to see again. I guess the rock, paper, scissors would have to win the award. The Budweiser dog spot was pretty good too but this is a dry county where I am and it’s a wonder we got to even see that one.
I talked to one of my CBS buds afterward asking what happened to the audio mix for the big halftime show. It was terrible. He said with the rain and losing half the power to the field stage, the audio techs were holding everything together with gum and duct tape. They had one guy hold a wireless sideline reporters’ microphone to pick up the band on stage. It was a pure mess. It would have been fun to hear the conversations on the headsets during all that. If they worked. One rainy CBS game several years ago all the headsets went down just before kickoff and we had to do a lot of it by cell phone. The guys in New York still talk about that one.
So this is it until next August. I already have Ole Miss’ spring practice and scrimmage schedule starting in March along with the SEC spring meetings. Be sure and get out and see some baseball. Northwest is loaded this season and there’s no better way to enjoy a spring day with a load of good sunflower seeds. Phillip’s team starts in March too and Richard is not far behind so all is well.
| Great stories come from Super Bowl
By Robert Neill
The Super Bowl is over and done with, the Colts are Champions finally and can wear that title for a year, Peyton Manning has overcome the media label of not being able to win the Big One, and everyone has marveled that two black coaches competed for the first time in a Super Bowl.
Yet, speaking for myownself, those aren’t the most worthy stories coming from the pro football world this month.
Here is what is most noteworthy: that those two coaches, the Colts’ owner, and the MVP quarterback gave the glory to God – right out in public on television. In the middle of all the hoopla and the hype, they essentially said that they felt their teams had been blessed by the Lord Above this year, and that they had personally dedicated themselves to honoring God for the duration.
They said that they had prayed for success in their efforts, and that they wanted to give God the credit for any success in getting to the Big Game.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that God is in the football business atall. I don’t believe that the Saints in Heaven were gathered around the Streets of Gold watching the Big Game on a wide screen and cheering for their favorites. However, I do believe that there was rejoicing at the Pearly Gates when the various coaches, owners, and stars publicly declared their belief in God to be a part of their lives, winners or losers in some football game.
What surprises me to some extent is that those statements were aired on TV. Seems like I recall that there is a maybe five-second delay on broadcasts, for the purpose of "bleeping out" comments or scenes that are in poor taste (this from an industry that forces sex, profanity, and violence down American throats during "Prime Time" programming!).
Have you ever watched Ole Miss or State football on the muted television set while listening to the Rebel or Bulldog announcers on the radio? The radio guy is always a little bit ahead of the play on the screen, enough so that you know before seeing the snap that the pass is going for a touchdown. I forget what that time lag is called, but you know what I’m talking about, right?
I was actually surprised that national television let the God comments come through the editing process, weren’t you? Don’t you just know that some producer either lost his job or got demoted for letting those God comments through?
But I appreciated the fact that those men said those good things, and that they were broadcast for the world to see. I hope Lovie and Tony are in the next decade of Super Bowls, to drive that God lesson home. I hope that whatever coach finally beats them to get there is man enough to express his faith like they did, if he is in fact a believer too.
And to give credit where it’s due, there have been Christian Prime Time Programs, too: CBS aired "Touched By An Angel," which set records for long running at the time (and they didn’t pull the program because it mentioned God, I don’t care what your e-mail hoax said), and a spin-off called "Promised Land" starring Mississippi’s own Gerald McRaney, plus a program running now called "Ghost Whisperer," which not only portrays a Heaven, but also a Hell and Satan.
Both of the latter are real, but it’s not fashionable in many churches to proclaim that fact. Yet these type programs are few and far between, while sex, profanity, and sleaze are the image of today that producers – movie and TV – most often foist upon the viewing public. Look at the Anna N. Smith junk this past few weeks.
Well, I didn’t mean to get on my soapbox, and maybe should have proclaimed at the start that this would be a religious column. "Stick to writing about something you’re qualified to write about, Neill," you may be saying.
Okay, that would be football. I just wanted to say that I was touched that the Super Bowl coaches, the MVP, and the winning owner expressed their thanks to God for the blessings bestowed upon them. May He bless them some more!
Selah. And Hotty Toddy, too!
| ND boys to play in North State tournament Wed.
| By Myra Bean
The North Delta boys basketball team (13-14) won two of three games to place third in the district tournament held at Bayou Academy last week to qualify for the North State Tournament.
Two North Delta players earned All-Tournament honors, Brandon White and Dakota Mabry. Four North Delta players earned All-District honors, White, Mabry, Emily Brown and Evan West.
The Green Waves will travel south to Strider Academy in Charleston to take on Immanuel Christian in the first round of the North State Tournament.
Immanuel Christian is the runner-up from
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Wednesday’s game between West Memphis and Central Holmes.
West Memphis was the only team North Delta lost to in the district tournament. West Memphis defeated Bayou Academy 71-53 to win the district.
West Memphis downed North Delta 74-36 on Friday.
The North Delta varsity girls ended their season in the first round of the district tournament with a 60-30 loss to West Memphis Christian. Beth Ann Youngblood scored 15 points, followed by Courtney McCullar with eight and Emily Brown with seven.
On Thursday, the Green Waves came from behind to defeat Tunica Institute of Learning 37-36 to earn a spot in the North State tournament.
In the bid for third place in the upcoming tournament, North Delta defeated Desoto, Ark. 43-40 on Saturday.
Against Tunica, North Delta was down 18-14 at the half.
North Delta made up ground by one point in the third outscoring Tunica 12-11 to go into the fourth quarter down 29-26.
It was during the fourth quarter that earned the Green Wave the edge it needed.
North Delta held TIL to seven points and scored 12 for the one point edge needed to continue its season.
Brandon White was the game’s high scorer with 23 points. Other Green Wave scorers include Dakota Mabry, 6 points; and Taylor Herron and John Terry Moore, 4 points each.
Against West Memphis, Moore was the only Green Wave to score in double figures with 11 points.
"They outplayed us on both ends of the floor," said head coach Herman Coats. "They are a very talented basketball team."
Saturday, North Delta and Desoto played for the third place position. North Delta remained steady throughout the first half and took a 20-16 lead into halftime. Both teams scored 11 points in the third quarter; therefore, the Green Wave lead stayed the same.
Desoto outscored North Delta in the fourth quarter, but only by one point, so the Green Waves were able to hold on for the victory.
Mabry was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points. Other Green Wave scorers include Moore, 9 points; West, 6 points; White, 4 points; and Taylor Herron, 2 points.
Coats said the team improved throughout the year as Mabry recovered from an injury.
"Evan West had to move from shooting guard to point guard and his play improved all season," Coats added. "Since Christmas, we have really become a unified team on both offense and defense. It appears when the other team shuts one of us down, another player steps up and carries the load for the team."
Coats said they are in the postseason because of team effort and not one individual.
"The All-District and All-Tournament honors speak for themselves," he said.
Immanuel Christian boasts a good inside player in Jeremy Fox, according to scouting reports, Coats said. They also have two really good outside shooters.
The game between North Delta and Immanuel Christian tipoffs at 5:15 p.m.
| Baseball/softball teams prepare to start season
| By Myra Bean
Though the wind is still chilly outside, the high school baseball and softball teams are ready to get the season started.
The South Panola High School baseball and fast pitch softball teams are excited as they will play on their own newly built fields across from the high school.
The teams will both start the season this Saturday.
South Panola baseball will host the annual Wes Smythe Classic in a doubleheader with Grenada at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
A MVP will be named for the classic.
Heading the baseball team is five year head coach Patrick Robey.
The softball team will be right beside them as they gear up for a game with Winona at 1 p.m.
The softball team is under first year coach Ashleigh Hicks.
Parking is located in the high school parking lot across Tiger Drive.
North Delta baseball team is playing a practice game at Clarksdale Lee Friday of this week beginning at 3 p.m.
They will open the season at Marshall Acdaemy on Tuesday, February 20. They are under four year head coach David Hardy.
Read in depth information on all these teams from the coaches in Friday’s special Diamond Ball edition.
The edition will also contain team and individual photos and interviews from the coaches, along with complete game schedules.
| Cougars and Tigers start district tournament play
| By Myra Bean
Mississippi High School Activities Association schools began basketball district tournament action this week.
In Region 3-3A, North Panola girls played Byhalia Monday afternoon in the first round held at Water Valley. The boys played Marks Palmer last night. The scores were not available at press time.
Upon a win, the girls will play Senatobia tonight at 7 p.m. The consolation game will be Friday at 4 p.m. and the championship at 7 p.m.
If the boys win, they will play Byhalia Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The consolation game is Friday at 5:30 p.m. and the championship is at 8:30 p.m.
In Division 1-5A play, the South Panola girls will take on Horn Lake tonight at 7 p.m. The Tiger boys will take on Horn Lake at 8:30 p.m. The tournament is held at Horn Lake.
The winners will face the Olive Branch/Southaven winners Friday night for the district championships. The girls play at 6 p.m., and the boys at 7:30 p.m.
| Grizzlies get the job done in overtime against T’Wolves
| By Angie Ledbetter
After losing on the road to the Dallas Mavericks 113-97 on Tuesday, February 7, the Grizzlies returned home to the FedEx Forum on Friday, to give the 15,963 fans what they have been waiting on for so long – a win.
The Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime 105 – 97.
It was a very exciting night for everyone as proven by the cheering of the crowd as they waved their yellow Grizzlies flags the entire night.
"This is a growth process for this team," said Grizzlies head coach Tony Barone. "We’re thrilled and excited, but we have to learn from this. We have to sit back tonight, and our guys have to ask, ?Why did we win this game?’ Not how did we win it’ but why did we win it?"
Barone said Pau Gasol did as good as a job defensively "patrolling the paint" as he has done since Barone had been there.
He had 17 rebounds," Barone said. "He altered a bunch of other spots. That one spot that Trenton Hassell made that we blocked and he put back up. I just had visions that it would happen again. We hung in there."
Gasol was not much of an offensive threat Saturday night.
"They put Mark Blount on one side of him and Kevin Garnett on the other side." Barone said. "King Kong couldn’t score if they did that. Instead of worrying about that, he went and played the rest of the game. He rebounded the ball, he blocked shots, and he made key passes."
Barone also said he saw what Rudy Gay is capable of doing
"He’s going to be a very good player," Barone said. "He hit big shots tonight, had big blocks tonight and got a little better defensively tonight. We’re pleased with that. He’s happy. He has to learn from this and take what he’s learned to the next game. He hit key shots tonight."
Chucky Atkins was invaluable on defense, according to Barone.
"He put pressure on their guards and didn’t let them look over our defense," Barone added. "That was the key element of us being able to hang in there and win the game."
Playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-26) was Kevin Garnett (F) and Justin Reed (F) from Jackson, who played basketball at Ole Miss. Reed is in his third year as a pro. He was drafted in 2004, 2nd round (40th overall) by the Boston Celtics. He was traded from Boston on January 26, 2006. He did not play in this game.
In the first quarter of the game, the Grizzlies out scored the Timberwolves 24-23. They outscored them in the second quarter also 22-20 to give them a 46-43 lead at the half. In the third quarter, the Timberwolves woke up and came back and scored 29 points to the Grizzlies 21 to take a 70-67 lead.
The Grizzlies kept fighting in the fourth quarter and outscored the Timberwolves 25-20 to tie the game 92-92 at the end of regulation and send it into overtime.
In overtime, the Grizzlies outscored the T’wolves 13-5 to win.
Rudy Gay was the star of the night for the Grizzlies with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks.
Also scoring for the Grizzlies was Mike Miller, 17 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists; Chucky Atkins, 15 points; Damon Stoudamire, 13 points; Hakim Warrick, 12 points; Gasol, 10 points, 17 rebounds; and Lawrence Roberts, 9 points.
There were nine lead changes in the game, and it was tied 12 times.
This game improved the Grizzlies’ record to 14 – 38. The players talked in the locker room about how this would give them the momentum to help them the rest of the season.
The Grizzlies were back on the road at New Orleans/Oklahoma City on Saturday night and lost that game. Gasol registered 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Memphis, but it was not enough as it fell to host New Orleans/ Oklahoma City, 114-99.
They will be back at home at the FedEx Forum tonight when they host New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on their home court at 7 p.m. and then on to Indiana on Wednesday night before they get a break for the All Star game in Las Vegas.