Lions, Lady Lions takes hoops victories
East Mississippi Community College’s basketball teams swept Thursday’s final pre-Thanksgiving holiday hoops action by claiming an 89-79 home men’s win over Hinds and holding on for a 55-52 women’s victory at Northeast Mississippi.
In men’s action played at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum, the two teams battled through four early lead changes before the Lions permanently grabbed the lead from the Bulldogs with a 7-0 spurt. Danny Washington’s first of three 3-pointers on the night ignited the early push that helped give the Lions a 25-20 lead with seven minutes remaining in the opening half.
After another Washington trey bumped EMCC’s lead to eight points (30-22) later in the half, the Lions then outscored the visitors, 14-4, during the final four minutes of the half to take a 44-28 advantage into intermission.
Following the halftime break, Washington opened the second-half scoring with his third 3-pointer of the game to give the Lions their largest lead (47-28) of the contest. EMCC went on to maintain the double-digit margin for the opening 11 minutes of the second stanza.
Midway through the half, Hinds used a 9-1 run to cut a 12-point EMCC lead to just four points (68-64) with 4:40 remaining in the contest. However, the Bulldogs’ momentum was emphatically halted on Jakorie Smith’s put-back slam that started a 6-0 spurt and lengthened EMCC’s lead back to double figures.
Other than a 3-pointer by Hinds’ Deandre Buggage that cut the deficit to eight points during the game’s final seconds, the Lions maintained their double-digit advantage down the stretch en route to the 10-point triumph.
Improving to 4-2 on the season, Coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions received double-double efforts by Smith and fellow forward Nick Walker. Smith’s 19 second-half points led to a 26-point, 12-rebound outing that resulted in his 15th career double-double and third of the season. Walker’s 14 rebounds and 10 boards marked his ninth career double-double and fourth of the young season.
Blake Butler added 15 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Washington finished with 12 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting for the winners.
Hinds also had four players score in double figures, led by Jalen Myers with 17 points and Jamaal Esco with 16 points. Buggage and Brodrick Thompson Jr. followed with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
In women’s action at Bonner Arnold Coliseum in Booneville, the EMCC women continued to build on a 13-10 lead after the opening quarter. In limiting the Lady Tigers to 22-percent (7-32 FGs) shooting through the opening 20 minutes of play, the Lady Lions held a 27-18 halftime advantage.
EMCC’s margin grew to as many as 17 points by the 2:50 mark of the third quarter. The visitors maintained a 45-31 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play, but Northeast spent the entire fourth quarter chipping away at the deficit. While the Lady Lions’ last made field goal of the game came at the 3:07 mark, NEMCC took advantage of the opportunity and cut the deficit to a single possession down the stretch before just falling short on a comeback attempt.
The narrow victory marked the first road win in four tries away from home this season for Coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions and improved their overall record to 3-3 on the young season.
Shakira Wilson and Jenessa Souza scored a dozen points apiece to lead the Lady Lions, while Kyunna Thomas just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds coming off the bench for the winners.
Northeast’s Calysia Phillips topped all scorers with a game-high 25 points. Quay Dorrough registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the home-standing Lady Tigers.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will return to action on Monday, Nov. 29, by playing host to Shelton State Community College in a men’s/women’s home doubleheader on the Scooba campus. A 5:30 p.m. women’s game will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. men’s contest at Currie Coliseum.