|EMCC Lady Lions bow out of regional basketball tourney with 80-72 overtime loss to Meridian|
CLINTON – The East Mississippi Community College Lady Lions saw their 2010-11 basketball campaign come to a heart-breaking conclusion late Wednesday evening by dropping an 80-72 overtime decision to rival Meridian CC in the semifinals of the 2011 NJCAA Region 23 Tournament being held at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
One day removed from their dramatic 67-66 first-round win over Jones County on Jamie Gunter’s made free throw with one-tenth of a second remaining, the Lady Lions put themselves in a position for a possible second straight game-winner at the buzzer against MCC in the semifinals. However, Gunter’s fall-away short jumper in the lane rolled off the rim with the score tied at 67-67 to force the extra session.
After the Lady Lions held a slim 38-35 halftime advantage, the two teams traded leads four times during the early portion of the second stanza. EMCC seemed to take control of the contest after freshman guard Chadisty Hickman, of Kemper County, nailed three consecutive 3-pointers to help stake the MACJC North Division champions to a 57-51 lead with 6:16 left in regulation.
The Lady Lions maintained the lead for the next five minutes and were still ahead 66-61 heading into the final minute of regulation after Gunter’s two made free throws. Meridian freshman standout Norianna Haynes ignited the comeback for the Lady Eagles by hitting a clutch 3-pointer to make it a two-point contest with 33.2 seconds left on the game clock. After EMCC’s Kiara Quinones-Noa hit 1-of-2 free throws with 24.4 seconds showing, Meridian’s Jasmine Anderson drilled a pivotal game-tying trey eight ticks later to set up Gunter’s unsuccessful shot attempt at the end of regulation.
Hickman put the first point on the scoreboard during the overtime period by hitting the backend of a two-shot foul. However, that’s when Haynes took control of the contest for the Lady Eagles. The former Northeast Lauderdale product drove baseline on three consecutive possessions to account for the first six of eight unanswered points by Meridian. During MCC’s game-deciding 8-0 run in overtime, the Lady Lions were stymied by a pair of turnovers and a blocked shot by Chasity Kearney on Hickman’s drive attempt.
EMCC did manage to cut the deficit to four points (76-72) with 18 seconds remaining on a Gunter put-back basket, but Haynes sealed Meridian’s comeback victory by hitting 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to finish with a game-high 31 points on the night.
Led in the semifinals by Quinones-Noa and sophomore Natalie Tate, of Columbus, with 14 points apiece, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions finished the campaign with a 15-10 overall record, including a 9-3 league record and their second MACJC North Division regular-season title in three years. Hickman and Gunter also scored in double figures in the season finale with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 March 2011 )|
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