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Stewart leading the Gators to their best season in years as head coach



Troy Stewart (photo from Facebook)

Since taking over the Vicksburg High School girls basketball team in 2017, head coach Troy Stewart has made a positive change in the team.

Stewart took over the program after former coach Barbara Hartzog retired. The year before, the Gators suffered a tough 4-21 season.

Since then, the Gators have been more competitive on the court. As Steward finished his first season in 2018, the Gators had a much improved 15-14 record.

After the season, Vicksburg began preparing for the next year. The gators had players including lead scorer Ke’Mari Smith and Jayla Sims who led the way to a successful 2019. Vicksburg finished 18-13, with freshman Destiny Sims slowly becoming a huge factor on the court.

Stewart is now in his third season as head coach, and the Gators have a 19-10 record. They are in the elite eight in the playoffs. Sims and Yakia Burns are the top scorers this season, and the Gators are defeating teams that they once lost to. On Friday, they knocked off Cleveland Central in a close 54-51 win.

As he leads the Gators to their best season in years, Stewart is aware that every game counts. Under his leadership, the Gators are in good hands.

VHS will travel to Itawamba Community College on Saturday, Feb. 29, to face Neshoba Central at 5:30 p.m.


MSU’s Reggie Perry to enter NBA draft



Reggie Perry (Photo courtesy MSU Athletics)

Mississippi State University standout basketball player Reggie Perry has declared to enter 2020 NBA Draft.

Perry announced his decision on social media Sunday where he stated his intentions to play on the next level. Perry mentioned that he spoke with MSU head coach Ben Howland and informed him of the decision before going public.

Perry was selected as the Associated Press Co-SEC Player of the Year after averaging 17.4 points per game last season. He led the SEC in rebounds by averaging 10.1 per game.

Perry helped lead the Bulldogs to a 20-11 record this season, but he will now get the chance to show his talents on the next level.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25, 2020.

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Former VHS assistant coach creates a legacy of building successful programs



Thomas Billups (Photo courtesy Tougaloo College)

Since arriving at Tougaloo College in 2015, head basketball coach Thomas Billups has made his team a dominant force on the basketball court.

Starting the early 1970s, Billups was an assistant coach for the Vicksburg High Gators where he helped lead them to a state championship in 1980. In 1983, he took over the Junior High basketball program, leading them to four Little Six championships. He won two Little Six championships with the ninth-grade team as well.

In 1991, Lanier High School in Jackson hired Billups as head coach, and he remained there for the next 22 years. At Lanier, Billups built a program that couldn’t be stopped. He led the school to 13 state championship appearances and eight state championship titles. Billups had a 617-119 record as Lanier’s head coach in 22 seasons.

After contract disputes with Lanier, Billups took a job as Oak Grove High School head coach in 2013. The next season Tougaloo College hired him as head coach in 2014, where he would turn around another struggling program. The Bulldogs had a 12-18 record before he arrived.

Billups has now had six successful seasons as Tougaloo College head basketball coach. This year, the Bulldogs finished this season with a 24-8 record under a coach who prepares his team for a championship every year.



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Former JSU quarterback Casey Therriault joins a new team in Germany



Casey Therriault (Photo courtesy JSU Athletics)

Casey Therriault, a former Jackson State University star quarterback, is still making an impact on the field since his playing days at JSU.

In 2010, Therriault became known as the “White Tiger,” because he was a white player at a historically black college. He instantly made an impact at JSU, earning the starting spot in his junior season after transferring from a California junior college.

JSU had two successful seasons while Therriault was the starter, with 8-3 and 9-2 records. During both seasons, JSU defeated arch rival Alcorn State University, including a 51-7 win in 2011.

During his time at JSU, Therriault threw for 7,227 yards and 58 touchdowns.

Upon graduation, he joined the Canadian Football League for a couple of years before moving to Germany where has had become a great player.

In January, Therriault announced that he would be playing for the Cologne Crocodiles in the German Football League, continuing his football career in Europe.

Playing for Germany, he has won Germany Bowl MVP three times and is expected to have a great year next season with his new team.


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