|EMCC hoops teams tip off new season by hosting defending state champions|
The women’s contest begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by men’s action at 7:30 p.m.SCOOBA – The East Mississippi basketball teams tip off the 2009-2010 campaign by playing host to the defending MACJC state champions of Jones County Monday evening at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.
EMCC’s season-opening hoops home stand continues with a Thursday doubleheader against nearby rival East Central. Game times at Currie Coliseum will again be at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Guided by 2008-09 MACJC Coach of the Year Sharon Thompson, the Lady Lions will showcase a new-look squad in 2009-2010 with 13 incoming players on this year’s 15-person roster. Heading the list of returnees from last year’s 25-7 team that advanced to the NJCAA Tournament after capturing the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament championship and claiming the MACJC North Division regular-season title is 5-foot-11 forward Martika Hull. The former Southeast Lauderdale High School product earned MACJC All-North State honors as a freshman after averaging 13.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game a year ago, along with shooting 61 percent from the field.
Sophomore Raona Stowers of Macon’s Noxubee County High School is EMCC’s only other returning player from last season. The 5-foot-6 sophomore guard saw limited action at the point guard position a year ago behind Northwestern State (La.) signee Kottia White. Other Lady Lion starters moving on to the senior college level were third-team NJCAA All-American Angelique Burtts (Georgia State) and Columbus High School product Jasmine Abrams (Arkansas-Pine Bluff).
Along with featuring plenty of new talent this season, the 2009-2010 Lady Lions will also showcase added height during the new campaign. Nine of the team’s 15 players are 5-foot-10 or taller, including out-of-state recruits Rickiesha Bryant (6-3) of Florida City, Fla., and Shelby Crawford (6-2) of Thomasville, Ala. Other 6-footers joining the team are Weir’s Alvionna Knox (6-1) and Nashedra Barry (6-0) of Columbus.
This year’s Lady Lion contingent will also have its usual flavor of local talent, including former Noxubee County High School teammates Shanteria Tate and Keyetta Buckhalter, as well as RoTasha Windom from Kemper County High School. Buckhalter and Tate helped lead the Tigerettes to a composite record of 70-23, including three straight Division 4-4A titles and consecutive semifinal-round appearances in the Class 4A North State playoffs in 2008 and 2007. Also from the surrounding district are newcomers Natalie Tate and Eryn Gray, who teamed with Barry at Columbus High School. The versatile Barry has also signed with EMCC’s softball program.
Former Oxford High School teammates Shavantis Thomas and Jacquelyn Carothers, Skylar Barnes of South Panola High School and Atlanta’s Malashia Chandler round out this year’s Lady Lion roster.
Under the direction of third-year head coach Mark White, the Lions return four players from last year’s 17-11 ballclub, which advanced to the semifinals of both the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament and MACJC State Tournament a season ago. The EMCC men look to again be headlined by preseason second-team NJCAA All-American CoCo Ware, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound backcourt performer. The former Starkville High School product earned NJCAA All-Region 23 honors as a freshman after averaging a team-leading 19.1 points along with 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.5 assists per game.
Fellow Starkville native John Harris (6-2, 200) is back after averaging 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest during an injury-plagued 2008-09 campaign. Former Forest Hill High School teammates Terence Bennett (5-11, 185) and Ken Hoskins (6-4, 190) of Jackson also return for the Lions. As reserves a year ago, Bennett averaged 5.5 points and 2.3 assists per game, while Hoskins contributed 1.9 points as a 54-percent shooter and 1.7 rebounds an outing.
Like their women’s team counterparts, the East Mississippi men’s squad will feature added depth and increased size. Eleven of the 16 players listed on the preseason roster are measured at 6-foot-4 or taller. Headlining the squad’s welcomed height is 6-foot-9, 240-pound post player Chris Brand of Starkville. Former SHS teammate Jeff Jernagin (6-4, 195) gives EMCC four former Yellowjackets on this year’s roster. The Starkville quartet will be joined by West Oktibbeha High School product Deon Bedford (6-4, 175) of Maben.
Expected to help make up for the loss of departed starters-turned-senior college signees Darian Donald of Columbus (Mississippi Valley State), Starkville’s Woodie Howard (Belhaven College) and Cataurius Taylor of Memphis (Tennessee-Martin) will be the much-anticipated debut of local standout Colby Wren. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound swing-position player averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game as an honorable mention all-state performer at Kemper County High School a few years back before signing with powerhouse Three Rivers Community College in Missouri.
Talented backcourt performer Anthony Alexander (6-0, 175) of Nashville and freshman forward Jonathan King (6-4, 195) of Panama City, Panama headline this year’s crop of out-of-state signees. Forward Richard Dixon (6-5, 220) of University Park Academy in Texas by way of Baton Rouge, La., is also new to this year’s EMCC contingent.
The Lions have also added a pair of versatile athletes from the Meridian prep ranks to the mix in Donovan Walker (6-4, 195) and Marino Thompson (6-7, 200) from Meridian and Southeast Lauderdale High Schools, respectively. Rounding out East Mississippi’s 2009-2010 men’s roster are Copiah-Lincoln transfer Micah Jordan (6-8, 255) of Purvis, Houston’s Deshario Gates (6-4, 195) and Joe McCoy (6-1, 220) of Raymond.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 02 November 2009 )|
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