OXFORD — They nearly gave it away, but in the end they survived.
Behind the shooting of Coltie Young in the fourth quarter and the help of Forte Prater, Starkville was able to hold off Murrah 58-51 to claim their second straight MHSAA Boys Class 6A State Championship on Saturday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
It is the Yellow Jackets (30-2) fourth state championship overall.
“We started the game out on fire and they just beat us in the second and third quarter. They more physical than us in those two quarters,” said Starkville coach Greg Carter, whose won all of Starkville’s state championships as a head coach. “Fourth quarter we stepped and got some stops. Coltie Young made some big shots and gave us separation and that’s what we needed.”
Starkville raced out to a 21-4 lead in the first quarter, with Trey Jackson scoring 10 points in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter Murrah outscore the Yellow Jackets 19-14 to cut the lead to 35-23 at halftime.
In third quarter with Starkville leading 39-25 Murrah would go on a 13-0 run to cut the lead down to one at 39-38. The Jackets ended the third quarter up 43-41.
In the fourth quarter Murrah’s Joseph Dupree would hit a mid-range jumper with 5:30 left to give the Mustangs a 46-45 lead.
Starkville’s Coltie Young would score the next eight points for Starkville to give the Jackets a 53-46 lead with 4:42 left in the game and would hang on from that point.
Young finished 10 points
“Coach told me to keep shooting and I knew they needed me then,” Young said. “I came through with the two big three’s and just felt confident after that.”
Forte Prater had a game-high 18 points and dished out four assists to lead Starkville and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“We haven’t seen nothing like we’ve seen in practice already, so we were prepared for stuff like and it’s up to me to lead the team to win,” Prater said. “It means a lot to end my career with back to back championships.”
Trey Jackson added 16 points for Starkville.
“Murrah just kept fighting and fighting and chipping away. I told them we got to win the fourth quarter to be state champions and we did that,” Carter said. “This never gets old. All we talk about in our program is winning and preach it over and over. We create competition in practice because we want winners.”
Kenard Bowie had 16 points to lead Murrah, while Christian Evans added 14 points for the Mustangs (20-11).
“One thing about this team is we’ve been through so much adversity that I knew they never would quit,” said Murrah coach Jorel Washington. “These guys showed a lot of resiliency and took the lead and was one or two stops away from what we wanted, but we came up short.”