|No. 12 EMCC falls to No. 25 Pearl River 61-58 in MACJC state finals|
SCOOBA – In a classic championship contest between respective regular-season divisional champions, the 12th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi dropped a hard-fought 61-58 decision to No. 25 Pearl River Thursday in the men’s championship game of the EMCC-hosted MACJC State Basketball Tournament held at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
Following a 30-27 EMCC halftime lead, the two teams battled through 11 lead changes and four ties in the second half before Pearl River went on top for good with about four minutes left in the contest. With PRCC leading 59-56 with just over a minute remaining, the Lions had a chance to tie or even reclaim the lead down the stretch. Instead, a pair of misses at the line, a contested attempt from close range failed and a couple of unsuccessful three-point tries during the final minute of play cost them in the end.
Even after Kegan Houston made it a five-point game with two free throws with 15 seconds left, EMCC still had a chance to send the contest into overtime. Following EMCC freshman Donovan Walker’s two made free throws, Pearl River’s Emil Jones had a chance to all but seal the victory for the visitors. However, the sophomore forward missed both attempts with eight ticks left. The Lions’ CoCo Ware grabbed the errant second charity toss and advanced the ball to freshman Deonte Alexander, whose potential game-tying 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim at the final buzzer.
In improving to 23-4 overall with their 17th consecutive victory on the year, the South Division champions of Pearl River claimed their first men’s basketball title since 2003-04. In dropping to 23-5 overall, head coach Mark White’s Lions were looking for their first gold ball in men’s hoops competition since 1932-33. EMCC’s 2009-10 MACJC North Division regular-season title marks the school’s first men’s crown since the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges went to divisional play in 1970.
Ware, a preseason NJCAA All-American from Starkville, led a quartet of double-figure EMCC scorers with 17 points, while Alexander finished with 11. Off the bench, the Lions received 13 and 12 points, respectively, from Richard Dixon and Walker. Pearl River was paced by Kenderek Washington’s game-high 19 points, followed by 16 points from Phillip Crawford.
Both EMCC and Pearl River will begin competition Tuesday at the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament, set for March 1-4 at Mississippi College in Clinton. Head coach Sharon Thompson’s 14-12 EMCC Lady Lions will tip off regional competition Monday at MC. Regional men’s and women’s brackets are slated to be finalized on Friday. The East Mississippi women are the reigning NJCAA Region 23 champions, having beaten Copiah-Lincoln in last year’s title game to earn the program’s first NJCAA Tournament appearance since 1978.
In the women’s MACJC state championship game played Thursday in Scooba, the Lady Bobcats of Jones County successfully defended their state title with a 72-62 upset victory over previously unbeaten and third-ranked Copiah-Lincoln. JCJC also knocked off the Lady Wolves in last year’s state title game played in Ellisville.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 26 February 2010 )|
|< Prev||Next >|