Lions get back on track with convincing home win


The seventh-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College got back on the winning track with a convincing 82-56 home win over Mississippi Delta during makeup MACCC men’s basketball action played Saturday af­ternoon at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.

Playing their third game in six days after falling to conference front-runners Pearl River and Northeast Mississippi earlier in the week, the Lions’ weekend action against the Trojans was the result of a previ­ously postponed (Jan. 20) contest due to COVID-19 concerns.

On the strength of eight first-half triples as a team – three each by Blake But­ler and Jakorie Smith – EMCC settled for a 40-33 halftime advantage after MDCC’s Markell Petro scored the final five points of the half.

The visitors continued to battle tough through the opening minutes of the second half by cutting the deficit to just two points.

Sparked by three-point­ers from Danny Washing­ton and Brandon Deravine, the Lions re­sponded by scoring eight unanswered points to in­crease their lead to 55-45 by the 14:33 mark. A pair of Kevin Henry free throws and a breakaway dunk by Smith midway through the half then per­manently put EMCC in front by double digits.

Capped by six straight made free throws by But­ler as a result of consecu­tive technical fouls called on MDCC’s bench, a 10-0 EMCC rally stretched the advantage to 21 points (72-51) by the 4:29 mark.

Improving to 13-4 over­all and 6-2 in conference play, head coach Billy Be­gley’s EMCC Lions had four players score in dou­ble figures. Smith and Butler finished with 19 points apiece, while Der­avine and Traemond Pittman followed with 14 and 12 points, respec­tively, for the winners.

EMCC’s basketball teams both fell to Pearl River last Thursday with the Lions dropping a 72-59 home decision to the conference front-running Wildcats at Keyes T. Cur­rie Coliseum, while the Lady Lions were edged, 45-42, by the PRCC women at Marvin R. White Coliseum.

In men’s action on the Scooba campus, the Lions faced their second title contender of the week after having their nine-game winning streak snapped Monday at No. 20 Northeast Mississippi. The Wildcats responded to the challenge by ex­tending their win string to 10 consecutive games with the double-digit road victory over EMCC.

The Wildcats drilled a total of eight treys during the half, including a banked triple by Jair Cur­rie at the halftime buzzer that stretched their lead to 41-26. The closest EMCC could get int he second half was six points when Brandon Deravine’s three-pointer pulled EMCC to within 53-47.

The Lions were led by Jakorie Smith’s 14 points, while Blake Butler and Kevin Henry followed with 10 points apiece.

EMCC’s Lady Lions ini­tially owned the advan­tage during Thursday’s low-scoring women’s con­test played on the Poplarville campus. Early three-pointers by Shakira Wilson and Jenessa Souza staked the visitors to a 10-4 lead four minutes into the game.

Pearl River gained con­trol later in the opening quarter by going on a 17-2 run that was capped by consecutive three-point­ers from Otashae Burrage and a subsequent trey by Tristen Washington. The Wildcats scored the last 13 points of the quarter to take a 21-12 lead into the second period.

EMCC’s Siarra Jackson proved to be a bright spot by hitting 6-of-6 free throws and a basket dur­ing the second quarter to help trim the visitors’ deficit to 24-21 by half­time.

The Lady Lions re­claimed the lead in the second half by scoring the last eight points of the third quarter that in­cluded three-pointers by Souza and Wilson. DJ Williams’ basket to open the fourth-quarter scoring capped a 10-0 run that gave EMCC a 37-30 lead.

Washington provided a lift for Pearl River by hit­ting a pair of three-point­ers, including converting a four-point play with a free throw, to knot the score at 39-39 with six minutes remaining in the game. The Wildcats then took the lead for good down the stretch on con­secutive baskets by Bur­rage and Washington.

The EMCC women were led by Jackson’s game-high 19 points, including 11-of-12 accuracy from the charity stripe. The Rip­ley product also pulled down eight rebounds. Thomas added eight points and 11 boards for the Lady Lions.

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