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Playoff time is always a very busy time of the year

By Staff
Thought for the day: If you don't stop playing golf and go inside when it's lightning nearby, I don't want to copy answers off your test paper.
There are busy times and then there are real busy times.
The latter would best approach the area sports scene this past week.
The public high school basketball teams wrapped up the regular seasons last night before division tournament play begins on Monday.
The private schools already know by now if they have advanced to next week's state tournament level or if their seasons are completed.
Soccer has already reached its state tournament level with West Lauderdale's boys and Meridian's girls playing in semifinal action yesterday and hoping to play for state championships today.
Then there was national signing day for fall sports participants.
And baseball season is set to get under way today … weather permitting. Remember those two words when you browse through spring baseball, softball, tennis, and golf schedules because rain will have its say in when games are played. And we probably won't have two relatively dry springs in a row, will we?
Fast-pitch softball will start a week from today if all goes well with Clarkdale hosting a tournament.
For the area coaches who have already sent in spring schedules… thank you, thank you very much.
For those who haven't, please do so ASAP. You can fax them to 601-485-1275, e-mail them to sports@themeridianstar.com or use the postal service to send them to Sports, The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS 39302.
Area golf course managers that have planned their 2001 schedules can do the same at the same addresses.
Picks for the Big House
I know better, but here are my picks for area MHSAA basketball teams to reach the Big House.
In Class 5A, Meridian's girls and Wayne County's boys. Either Meridian's boys or Wayne's girls could get there, too, but winning South State play-in games could be tough.
In Class 4A, Noxubee County's girls look mighty tough. If Neshoba Central's troops play like they did against Meridian and Columbus, they've definitely got a chance. Anything less won't cut it.
In Class 3A, Choctaw Central's girls and Heidelberg's boys and girls and whoever survives the Southeast Lauderdale-Newton County girls' battle have a great shot at going to state.
Kemper County's boys' fate rests in how well big man Kenny Boyd plays. West Lauderdale's hopes rest on the outside shooting of Calvin Moore and Boo Ramsey. If they're both hot and Van Wilson gets in the act, watch out.
Says here, the Choctaw girls' toughest test of the entire playoffs might just be a semifinal date with West Lauderdale. The Lady Knights match up mighty well with Willis Tullos' war machine and went 2-2 against the Lady Warriors last year, ending their season in a semifinal contest of the 5-3A Tournament.
In Class 2A, Newton's boys and South Leake's boys are both having real good seasons and could head to J-town. Bay Springs might just have the best shot among area 2A girls.
Class 1A, Lake's girls and Scott Central's girls are the cream of the crop in Division 6-1A. Maybe even in all 1A South State with Durant having some say so in the matter.
Don't ask me how Durant's Howard sisters can play at Williams-Sullivan and Durant in the same season after starting the school year at Piney Woods. I don't know.
What a turnaround
Having seen Northeast Lauderdale's girls play twice in their first five games, I wouldn't have given two cents for their winning 15 games much less 20. Yet, Dan Stegall's squad has won 10 of its last 12 games to carry a 20-9 mark into last night's game with Kemper County.
Maybe it's from a developing maturity in the backcourt and maybe it's from coaching. Most likely, it's a combination of the two.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Email him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com.

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