EMCC basketball set to host tournament games
SCOOBA — In securing No. 6 regional seeds with third-place MACCC North Division regular-season finishes, the East Mississippi Community College basketball teams are set to begin competition by hosting second-round games during this week’s NJCAA Region 23 Basketball Tournament action.
Following first-round byes, the EMCC women will play host to 11th-seeded Copiah-Lincoln (5-8) on Wednesday (March 31), while the EMCC men will entertain No. 11 seed Southwest Mississippi (6-8, 7-9 overall) on Thursday (April 1). Both second-round tournament contests are set to tip off at 6 p.m. at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.
Coach Sharon Thompson’s reigning conference champion EMCC Lady Lions enter postseason tournament competition with a 10-4 record both overall and in division play. They have won six of their last seven decisions, including a four-game winning streak before dropping a 51-50 home decision to MACCC North Division co-champion Itawamba back on March 20. The Lady Lions closed out the regular season with a commanding 81-39 home triumph over Northwest Mississippi last Wednesday (March 24).
Coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions posted an 11-5 overall record and 9-4 division mark during regular-season play. They will begin regional action having won eight of their last 10 contests, including a pair of four-game win streaks. The Lions concluded the regular season by dropping a 73-62 home decision to Holmes on March 22.
Because of their division-only schedule, the EMCC women did not meet the Co-Lin Lady Wolves during the 2021 regular season.
Along with playing their MACCC North Division slate, the Lions split a pair of inter-division February decisions with Southwest Mississippi and posted an 87-70 road win over Meridian. During their regular-season split with Southwest, the EMCC men avenged a 90-83 home overtime loss to the Bears (Feb. 6) by claiming a narrow 76-75 road win over SMCC three weeks later (Feb. 27) in Summit.
Following this week’s opening rounds, tournament action will continue at on-campus sites of higher seeded teams with the Region 23 quarterfinals set for April 5-6 (women on Monday and men on Tuesday). The tournament semifinals (April 7-8) and championship contests (April 9) will then be played at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MACCC is not playing its annual basketball conference tournaments this year. Instead, the MACCC North Division and MACCC South Division regular-season champions have been declared co-conference champions for 2021. In response to the pandemic, divisional winners were named using a formula consisting of 80 percent of a team’s winning percentage and 20 percent of a team’s total number of games played.
In women’s action, Coahoma and Itawamba shared the MACCC North Division title, while top-ranked Jones went undefeated in the MACCC South. In men’s play, Northeast Mississippi edged Holmes to claim the MACCC North crown, while ninth-ranked Pearl River won the MACCC South title.