"M-Kat" To M State

The foundation of Mississippi State athletics was built largely by the young men and young women from the small towns and schools from around the magnolia state. One of the newest Bulldogs-to-be, Mary Kathryn Govero, is certainly keeping the small school heritage alive.

Mt. Salus Christian School has about 315 students from kindergarten to high school. Perhaps the most celebrated student is women hoops sensation Mary Kathryn Govero.

Mary Kathryn took the court Friday afternoon with the career scoring record already in hand. Govero's 4,867 career total points is an impressive feat. What makes the accomplishment even more impressive is that unlike some of her predecessors in the record books, she did not play varsity basketball until she entered the ninth grade.

On Friday, Mt. Salus won their MPSA class A semi-final 40 to 26. Govero had 31 of the Eagle's 40 which pushes the record out to 4,898.

Saturday's state title game will pit Mt. Salus versus Marvell Academy. A win in the final would give Mary Kathryn and her teammates the chance to play in the MPSA overall tournament next week. With Govero averaging just over 37 points per contest, 5000 career points could be within reach.

If you were to mention such a feat to the soft spoken Mary Kathryn, she would just shrug her shoulders and say it was what she could do to help her team win. While Govero has made headlines for scoring, she is mainly about winning.

"It's all kind of crazy," said Mary Kathryn. "I haven't really thought about (the record). I couldn't do anything without the other four players on the court, so they are a big part of it."

Govero credits her ability to shoot off the dribble, her vison and her mid range jumper as the key components of her success.

College recruiters began keeping tabs on the 5'11' shooting guard fairly early. Three schools were a bit more agressive than the others in their pursuit.

"Mississippi State, Arkansas and Southern Miss were the main ones," said Govero. "There were some other ones too, but they were the main schools. Mississippi State was the first to offer me a scholarship."

The offer from Coach Sharon Fanning's Lady Bulldogs would be the only one Mary Kathryn would need.

"After talking to the coaches and meeting the players, I just prayed about it and felt that was where I was supposed to be," explained Govero. "I liked the people there and I was real comfortable there."

Unlike a lot of Mississippians, Mary Kathryn never felt the need to choose a side between the state's two biggest rivals.

"Neither one of my parents went to Mississippi State or Ole Miss, so I always went for the Mississippi schools in general," said Govero. "I didn't die hard one way or the other."

Mary Kathryn played AAU ball for the Mississippi Lady Tigers and it was on that team she was dubbed "M-Kat". The unassuming superstar giggles at the mention of her nickname.

"I think that got started by my AAU coaches," chuckled Govero. "I am not really sure."

M-Kat wears the popular number 23 on her jersey, but not for Michael Jordan. Govero fashions herself after another prolific scorer, Pete Maravich.

"When he started out he was an underdog," explained Govero. "He never gave up and he worked hard to be successful. That's what I try to do."

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