It was a great year for many area high school teams
May 21, 2001
Thought for the day: Every silver lining has its dark cloud.
This has been a great year for many area high school athletic teams as they have won, or at least played for, state championships.
I'm sure I'm going to leave somebody out, but these are some of the highlights I can remember from the 2000-2001 school year.
Way back in the fall, West Lauderdale's Lady Knights and Philadelphia's Lady Tornadoes won state championships in slow-pitch softball at Brandon. Newton County's Lady Cougars and Meridian's Lady Wildcats placed second in their respective class.
Heidelberg Academy and Winston Academy won state championships in football, while Newton County's Cougars reached the Class 3A South State championship before getting hoodwinked.
In soccer, Meridian's girls and West Lauderdale's boys finished second in the state in their respective classifications.
In basketball, Southeast Lauderdale's Lady Tigers won the Class 3A state title and Lake's Lady Hornets were just as impressive in winning the Class 1A crown.
Meridian's Lady Wildcats came in second in Class 5A.
The girls from Bay Springs, Choctaw Central, Neshoba Central, and Noxubee County, along with the boys from South Leake and Newton made it to the Big House.
The Lady Warriors of East Central Community College won the Region 23 championship and headed to Salina, Kan., to play in the NJCAA Women's National Basketball Tournament.
In fast-pitch softball, Newton County was on the verge of winning another state championship before injuries and an automobile accident left the Lady Cougars simply too thin in the offensive department. Clarkdale was no slouch and Patrician Academy made the AISA state tournament.
In baseball, West Lauderdale recently made history by becoming the first team in Mississippi to win 10 state championships in that sport.
The folks at Heidelberg Academy were no less joyous Friday night after they won their first state championship in baseball.
And Lake came mighty close to winning the Class 1A state title in baseball before losing to the odd-year jinx of Hamilton (not to mention three pretty good Lion pitchers).
In golf, several area high school teams placed well in their respective state tournament, but the Eagles from Meridian Community College won the Region 23 Division II championship and are headed to the NJCAA Division II national tournament at College Station, Texas.
Leake Academy and Central Academy won state championships in slow-pitch softball this past weekend.
If the year could have only ended like this, it would have been a truly great one.
But tragedy claimed the lives of two area athletes in recent days.
La'Shonda Ford, a member of the East Central Community College Lady Warrior basketball team, died in a car wreck on May 11 and was buried Saturday.
Having traveled with ECCC to Kansas, I can say that La'Shonda was fun to be around off the court and yet was all business when it came time to play.
Henry Darby of Scott Central High School died during a football jamboree Friday night at SCHS.
They say every dark cloud has its silver lining, but the way this year wound up, I'm not so sure it's not the other way around.
Thanks to all the area athletes and coaches who made this year one to remember.
It makes this job a whole lot more fun when you're writing about champions.
To those who didn't win big and will be playing next year, a question to ponder before August arrives: Did you get what you deserved or deserve what you got? Somebody's got to win next year's championships, it might as well be you.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.