High School Sports

Starkville closes strong to take down Harrison Central in 6A quarterfinals

Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy rallies his team during a time out on Jan. 6, 2017, in Gulfport.
Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy rallies his team during a time out on Jan. 6, 2017, in Gulfport. Sun Herald file

For both teams it was a tale of a two halves.

In the end it was Starkville the one celebrating as the Yellowjackets were able to get past Harrison Central 57-47 in the quarterfinal round of the MHSAA Boys Class 6A playoffs at the Mississippi Coliseum on Saturday night.

Starkville (25-3) will face rival Columbus in the semifinals of the Class 6A playoffs on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.

“I thought the first half we played very well basketball, but in the second half we didn’t play near as well,” Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy said. “Starkville didn’t win 24 games for nothing and they are a good team. We just didn’t finish the deal.”

Starkville shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half (7-of-29), while in the second half they shot 59 percent (13-of-22).

On the other hand, Harrison Central shot 31 percent from the field in the first half (9-of-29). In the second half, it was 35 percent (11-of-31).

The Red Rebels led the entire first half up 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and up 20-17 at the half.

In the second half, Starkville started to pick things up.

After being down 20-17 at the half, the Yellowjackets opened up the third quarter on a 17-7 run and was up 34-27 with 3 minutes remaining in the period.

Harrison Central cut the Starkville lead to three at 38-35 at the end of the quarter.

Dajon Whitworth had a game high 21 points to lead Harrison Central. Dayquan Perkins added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Red Rebels (19-10).

“Both are great kids and led this team and will go on to have great careers in college,” Hardy said. “I’m proud the kids. This is our second straight year to make it to Jackson so we will go back to work and try to make another run.”

Blake Rogers had a team high 12 points to lead Starkville. Atavius Jones added 11 points and Jordan Temple chipped in 10 points for the Yellowjackets.

“We started out real shaky, but come in the end of the second quarter and into the second half we picked up the pace and played better,” said Starkville coach Greg Carter. “People say can’t shoot three’s real well in the coliseum but that’s how we got here and it did well for us tonight.”