Libero Londyn Bakeris of Lewisburg awaits to set the volleyball during the Lady Patriots' 3-0 victory over Madison Central on Oct. 22 at Lewisburg.  

Two DeSoto County volleyball teams will head to Starkville and Mississippi State University Thursday to play in the semifinals of the Mississippi High School Activities Association state volleyball tournament. 

For one, it’s another return trip to the state Final Four. For the other, a GPS may be needed to figure out where they need to be.

The bump up to Class 6A volleyball this season hasn’t halted the Lewisburg Lady Patriots’ road to state. Lewisburg advanced to the state semifinals with a 3-0 victory over Madison Central on Oct. 22 at Lewisburg.

With the victory, Lewisburg plays Brandon on the Mississippi State volleyball court at 6 p.m. this (Thursday) evening.

“This is my fifth year here and we’ve gone five in a row,” said Lewisburg coach Allison Burchyett. “You’ve got have a little luck to get there, but our girls have really bought into the work ethic and they’ve fought hard all year.”

Set scores in the match were 25-18, 25-21, and 25-17 for the Lady Patriots, now 28-11-1.

Lewisburg controlled the first set but Madison Central hung around before the Lady Patriots put the set away. However, Madison Central had the early lead in the second set before Lewisburg would rally and take control of the match.

“Our serve receive really picked up (in the second set), and we made some hustle plays at the net that we normally don’t always make, so I think that kind of got us fired up.”

Statistically, Micah Swift and Ellie Jones had 16 and 11 kills, respectively for Lewisburg. Londyn Bakeris served three aces and made 21 digs and Morgan Lee was credited with 29 assists.

Brandon knocked off Hancock 3-0 to advance to state. Set scores were 25-22, 25-13, and 25-19. The Lady Bulldogs bring a 25-13 record into the state semifinals.

Center Hill replaces perennial power Lake Cormorant as DeSoto County’s representative in the Class 5A Final Four field this year after a relatively easy advancement past Cleveland Central Oct. 22 at Cleveland. Set scores in the 3-0 victory for the Lady Mustangs were 25-7, 25-7, and 25-4. Statistics from the match had not been posted.

Center Hill (14-16) meets East Central in the 5A state semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday. East Central stopped West Jones 3-0 on Oct. 22 to qualify for state.

The surprise among the second round matches in DeSoto County was DeSoto Central’s upset loss at Clinton in Class 6A. Set scores of the 3-1 loss to the Arrows were 25-16, 25-12,14-25, and 25-18.

State finals for semifinal winners will be Saturday, Oct. 26 at Mississippi State. Class 5A will be played at 3 p.m. and Class 6A will follow at 5 p.m.

WEEKEND FOOTBALL: The big game in high school football this week is the battle for the top spot in the 6A division between Olive Branch and Oxford. Both teams are undefeated in division play and the winner of the game at Olive Branch will take control of the number one seed.

The contest was still on for Friday, as of Wednesday afternoon, but the threat of rain may move this pairing, along with others, to Thursday night. Fans should make sure to check with their local school for any possible changes.

As of Wednesday afternoon, DeSoto Central’s game at Tupelo had already been moved to Thursday, Oct. 24, along with Magnolia Heights’ game at Mantachie, Lewisburg at Southaven, and Lake Cormorant at Grenada.

Also on the schedule for the weekend are: Horn Lake at Hernando, Center Hill at Saltillo, and Northpoint Christian hosts Lausanne Collegiate. Again, check with your school for any possible schedule changes.

In high school football last week, Olive Branch dominated Southaven 38-14 behind 218 rushing yards from Gary Banks II, who also scored three touchdowns. Banks reached the 1,000-yard for the season and enters Friday’s game with 1,021 yards for the year.

Despite a touchdown from Jamario Harris, Horn Lake fell to Oxford 14-10. Richard Coleman scored twice for DeSoto Central in the Jaguars’ 26-7 win over Hernando. Blake Speed scored three times for Lewisburg but Tupelo spoiled the Patriots’ homecoming with a 43-26 victory. Columbus needed overtime to come away from the Swamp with a 27-26 victory over Lake Cormorant, despite Gator quarterback Telvin Amos throwing for 172 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns. In Center Hill’s 34-7 victory over Columbus New Hope, Troy Martin scored twice and ran for 98 yards for the Mustangs. Teammate Preston Newson scored once and added another 94 yards.

Pillow Academy defeated Magnolia Heights 42-21 and Northpoint Christian had the week off.

TIGERS SWEEP COUNTY CROSS COUNTRY: It was a Hernando sweep at the annual Odis McCord DeSoto County cross country meet held at the Olive Branch Soccer Complex on Saturday, Oct. 19.

The Hernando boys ran to victory with 48 points scored. Southaven (56) finished second, DeSoto Central (57) was a close third, Center Hill took fourth (59), followed by Olive Branch (90) and Lewisburg (252).

Led by individual champion Jessica Cartwright and the top seven finishes all from Hernando, the Lady Tigers claimed the girls’ team title with just 15 points scored. Southaven (96) again was runner up, followed by Lewisburg (115) and Center Hill (159).

Cartwright ran the five-kilometer course in a time of 20:32. The boys’ individual winner was DeSoto Central’s Adam Gomez, who was a repeat winner from last year. Gomez’ winning time was 16:44.

All-county selections, based on the top seven individual finishes, were for boys: Gomez (DeSoto Central); David Cox (Southaven); Gabe Gipson (Center Hill); Hunter McCraw (DeSoto Central); Eric Fritz (Southaven); Jalyn Figueroa (Center Hill); and Joseph Thornhill (Southaven).

The girls’ all-county team, again by order of finish and all from Hernando were: Cartwright; Riley Jackson; Delaney Hopkins; Madison McMillan, Emma Claire Hickey; Loxley Boyles; and Sarah Harmon.

SWIM CHAMPIONSHIPS SET: Tupelo’s Aquatic Center will be the site of the annual MHSAA State Swimming Championships on Saturday, Oct. 26. First prelims will begin at 8:45 a.m. Qualifiers for the state meet were based on top finishes at the North Half meet held last weekend at Delta State University. The DeSoto County contingent will be led by Center Hill’s Taylor Williams, a state champion who recently verbally committed to swim in college at Arizona State University.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.