Photo/James Pugh

History made. 

South Jones girls golf team won the school’s first-ever MHSAA Class 5A State Championship Tuesday afternoon with a low two-round total score of 381 at The Laurel County Club.

The three-player team includes Emma Smithers, Madison Diers and Baylee Boyette. 

“Our girls worked hard this year,” said Lady Braves golf coach Koby Easterling. “They practiced even when we didn’t have organized practices. They knew that this [year] would be their chance if they were going to do it. 

“I had two girls, Baylee and Madison, who worked hard to get to where they could compete at a high level. 

South Jones edged the likes of golf-rich programs like Germantown, Pearl River Central and Long Beach. Germantown finished in second place with a two-day score of 393.

“Class 5A girls golf has been very one-sided over the last couple of years,” added Easterling. “Germantown has won the last three that I know of. Pearl River Central has a good group of kids, too, and they’ll probably be competing for it over the next few years. They have great young girls that can play. 

“Long Beach also has a talented young lady, who’s probably going to be the medalist winner next year. She went toe-to-toe with Emma this year, and Emma was able to edge her out with experience.”

As the Lady Braves’ top golfer, Smithers finished both days with the lowest score of the 35-plus field of players at the event. The senior Loyola University New Orleans signee’s feat earned her the prize of first Medalist. 


“Emma [Smithers] went toe-to-toe with one of the best in the state last year,” said Easterling, “and that caused her to set out to prove that she was the best [this year]. She did that. She proved to everyone that she was the best girls’ golfer in 5A.”

Diers and Boyette included, proved that South Jones was the best team.

“Our team also came together and proved that we were the best in 5A,” said Easterling. “They decided that they wouldn’t listen to the critics that said our team was just a one-person show. Overall, we were a very good team this year.”

Players two-round totals:

Emma Smithers: Round 1 – 79; Round 2 – 74. Total – 152.

Madison Diers: Round 1 – 115; Round 2 – 116. Total – 231.

Baylee Boyette: Round 1 – 124; Round 2 – 113. Total – 237.

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