From school reports

SCOOBA – Fresh off the Lions claiming their first MACJC North Division men’s title since the 2012-13 season, the East Mississippi Community College basketball teams will jointly participate in next week’s MACJC State Basketball Tournament in Ellisville.

Women’s play begins Monday and men’s action starts Tuesday at A.B. Howard Gymnasium on the Jones College campus.

Coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions enter this year’s state tournament as the MACJC North’s No. 3 seed with an overall record of 11-12 and a division mark of 8-4 after closing out the regular season with Thursday’s 57-51 setback at Northeast Mississippi.  The EMCC women will open postseason play by taking on Copiah-Lincoln (South #2) Monday afternoon at 3 p.m., following the 1 p.m. contest between MACJC North champion Itawamba and Pearl River (South #4).  The winners of those two quarterfinal-round games will advance to play at 1 p.m. during Wednesday’s semifinals. 

Monday’s evening session of the women’s quarterfinals will pit MACJC South champion and host Jones College against Mississippi Delta (North #4) at 5:30 p.m., followed by Northeast Mississippi (North #2) versus Mississippi Gulf Coast (South #3) at 7:30 p.m.

During Thursday’s six-point road loss to Northeast, the Lady Lions were led by freshman guard Tye Metcalf’s solid all-around performance of 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.  Fellow freshman Aamiya Rush, from West Point, followed with 11 points and eight rebounds for EMCC.

In their most recent hardwood meeting against Copiah-Lincoln, the Lady Lions dropped a 60-59 decision to the Lady Wolves during the quarterfinals of the 2017 MACJC state tournament played in Ellisville. 

Coach Billy Begley’s MACJC North Division champion EMCC Lions begin postseason play as the conference’s hottest team with a current six-game winning streak following Thursday’s title-clinching 79-75 road triumph over the Northeast Tigers.

The EMCC men will enter Tuesday’s 3 p.m. quarterfinal-round contest against East Central (South #4) with an overall record of 16-7 and division mark of 10-2.  The EMCC-ECCC winner will advance to take on the winner of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. contest between Pearl River (South #2) and Holmes (North #3) during Wednesday’s 3 p.m. semifinal-round contest.

Tuesday’s evening session of the men’s quarterfinals will pair MACJC South champion and host Jones College with Mississippi Delta (North #4) at 5:30 p.m., followed by Northeast Mississippi (North #2) against Mississippi Gulf Coast (South #3) at 7:30 p.m.

The Lions will be looking to avenge this year’s regular-season sweep by East Central, as the Warriors prevailed over the EMCC men in Decatur (73-66 on Nov. 8) and in Scooba (58-57 on Jan. 8).  A year ago in MACJC men’s basketball state tournament action held in Senatobia, the Lions dropped an 80-63 quarterfinal-round decision to eventual state champion Pearl River.   

With both East Mississippi basketball teams making the state tournament in the same year for the first time since the 2015-16 season, the Lions’ 10-2 MACJC North Division record is their best since a 10-2 division mark in 2012-13 capped an impressive four-year run (2010-13) of successive division titles, Region 23 tournament championships and NJCAA national tournament appearances under the direction of former EMCC men’s basketball coach Mark White.  Begley served as White’s assistant coach during the last three seasons of that stretch before taking over the EMCC men’s basketball program prior to the 2015-16 campaign.