|EMCC to meet Itawamba in Thursday's NJCAA Region 23 hoops final|
CLINTON –- The 12th-ranked East Mississippi Lions are within one victory of making the program’s first-ever NJCAA Tournament appearance after claiming an 81-74 semifinal-round overtime win over Hinds Wednesday night at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
Head coach Mark White’s 25-5 EMCC Lions will face MACJC North Division rival Itawamba in Thursday’s 8 p.m. regional championship contest on the MC campus. The title game can be heard on FM95 (95.7) with ICC’s Will Kollmeyer calling the play-by-play action, while the radio broadcast can also be accessed by logging onto www.fm95radio.com and www.iccms.edu. Thursday’s winner will earn a berth in the upcoming NJCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to be held March 16-20 in Hutchinson, Kan.
East Mississippi has swept ICC each of the past two regular seasons, winning 54-51 in Scooba back in January and completing the sweep with a convincing 83-61 victory in Fulton last month. ICC advanced to Thursday’s title tilt by snapping Pearl River’s 18-game winning streak with a 73-65 win over the Wildcats in the other semifinal-round men’s contest.
In Wednesday’s triumph over the Bulldogs, EMCC responded from a 17-8 deficit at the 12:29 mark to finish the opening half on a 31-16 run to take a 39-33 halftime advantage. After extending their lead to eight points (43-35) early in the second half, the Lions stayed out in front for most of the second half. Both teams had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Hinds’ Chris Wallace missed a runner in the lane and EMCC turned it over in the final seconds to push the contest into overtime.
EMCC scored the first five points in the extra session on a CoCo Ware three-point play and a driving basket by Terence Bennett with the shot clock winding down. The Lions went on to outscore Hinds 16-9 in overtime en route to avenging their 79-74 home overtime setback to the Bulldogs back in November.
Coming off a 32-point effort in Tuesday’s first-round win over Northeast Mississippi, Ware led all scorers again with 29 points against Hinds. Freshman forward Jonathan King registered his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Freshman Donovan Walker of Meridian added 10 points – all in the first half – for the winners.
Ending their season at 19-8 overall, Hinds was led by Wallace and Mark Wilkerson with 23 and 22 points, respectively.
Head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions, who participated in last year’s NJCAA Tournament in Salina, Kan., ended their 2009-10 campaign at 15-13 with a 76-71 setback to Baton Rouge Community College in Wednesday’s semifinals. BRCC will meet nationally ranked Copiah-Lincoln in Thursday’s 6 p.m. women’s championship contest.
In capping her stellar two-year EMCC career with her 11th double-double of the season and 18th of her career, sophomore forward Martika Hull led the Lady Lions against Baton Rouge with 22 points and 15 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. The reigning MACJC All-North State selection by way of Southeast Lauderdale High School finished her East Mississippi career with 847 points and 470 rebounds over 59 games.
Fellow sophomore Eryn Gray, who came off the bench to score 15 points in Monday’s first-round 71-56 win over state champion Jones County, followed with 14 points against BRCC, including a dozen after halftime on 3-of-5 three-point shooting. Natalie Tate and Nashedra Barry, former Columbus High School teammates, added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Lions in their season finale.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )|
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