EMCC opens conference play with wins
East Mississippi Commu- nity College’s basketball teams successfully opened conference play by sweep- ing Northwest Mississippi during Thursday’s MACCC hoops action. Shakira Wil- son’s career-high 33 points led the EMCC women to an 83-71 home win over the Lady Rangers, while eight first-half three-pointers sparked the Lions to a 70- 64 road victory over North- west in men’s action.
During women’s play at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum in Scooba, the Lady Lions jumped out to a 16-2 lead by the 3:40 mark of the opening quarter on the way to holding a 19-8 advan- tage through the game’s first 10 minutes.
The Lady Rangers re- sponded by scoring the first 12 points of the second quarter to take their only leadofthecontest. Follow- ing back-to-back baskets by Maura Nunley, Northwest’s Tierra Trotter scored eight straight points to briefly put the visitors on top, 20-19, midway through the quar- ter.
EMCC responded with consecutive Markiema Lan- caster buckets and later with seven straight points by Wilson to open up a 35- 26 halftime advantage.
Following intermission, the Lady Lions extended their lead back up to 15 points (55-40) late in the third quarter on Jenessa Souza’s trey. The visitors an- swered by scoring the last six points of the quarter, as Nunley’s three-point play and subsequent three-point shot trimmed EMCC’s lead back to the halftime margin of nine points (55-46).
Northwest managed to get as close as seven points early in the fourth quarter, but Wilson tallied a dozen
points, including a trio of treys, during a two-minute span to help stretch the Lady Lions’ lead to 20 points (76-56) by the 3:44 mark.
Wilson’s career night in- cluded 13-of-17 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 ac- curacy from beyond the three-point arc. The South- east Lauderdale High School product also col- lected three rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist.
In recording her sixth dou- ble-double through the sea- son’s first eight games, Kyunna Thomas had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lancaster totaled 11 points, eight rebounds and four as- sists, while Siarra Jackson chipped in with 10 points and six boards for the win- ners.
The Lady Rangers also had four players score in double figures, led by Trot- ter’s 15 points. Nunley and Cailey Walker followed with 12 points apiece, while I’Yana Ragin added 10 points for the visitors.
In men’s action from Howard Coliseum in Sena- tobia, EMCC gained early control of the contest with the three-point ball. After trailing early in the game, the Lions drilled four treys during a two-minute stretch to help them gain a 17-12 lead by the 15:01 mark.
With the visitors still cling- ing to a slim 22-20 lead, Blake Butler then nailed a trio of three-pointers to ex- tend EMCC’s advantage to 31-20 midway through the first half. The margin in- creased to 13 points (40-27) with four minutes left on a Traemond Pittman three- point play following a steal.
On the strength of eight made treys through the opening 20 minutes of play, the Lions maintained a 46- 37 halftime advantage.
The Rangers made a cou- ple of runs during the sec- ond stanza to keep themselves within striking distance. Two minutes into the half, Kavonte Tunstall’s basket trimmed EMCC’s lead to 48-43. The visitors responded with buckets by Kevin Henry, Nick Walker and Brandon Deravine to bump the margin back up to double digits (54-43) with 14:30 remaining in the con- ference opener for both teams.
After Walker’s pair of free throws at the 5:30 mark made it a 64-51 contest, Northwest battled back again to cut the deficit to four points (64-60) with 3:42 left by scoring nine unan- swered points. The Lions re- grouped following a timeout by getting baskets from Danny Washington and Butler to push their lead back up to eight points (68-60), where the score stood until the final 20 sec- onds of the contest.
EMCC’s balanced scoring attack was led by Jakorie Smith’s 14 points. High- lighted by his game-chang- ing, three-point shooting display in the opening half, Butler registered his first collegiate double-double with 13 points and 10 re- bounds. Washington added 13 points, while Walker and Pittman contributed nine points apiece to the win- ning effort. Walker also grabbed 11 rebounds to narrowly miss a double- double.
Isaiah Gaines topped all scorers with 20 points along with pulling down a game- high 14 rebounds, while Joseph Cooper followed with 19 points for the home-standing Rangers.
East Mississippi’s basket- ball teams were set to con- tinue MACCC action by taking on Southwest Mississippi Monday.