Northeast Mississippi Community College’s men and women’s basketball teams started the new year with a split decision against Jones County Junior College on the hardwood at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on Thursday night, January 6.
Jones County’s Lady Bobcats captured the opener 95-73 over Ricky Ford’s Lady Tigers, while David Robbins’ Tigers improved to 4-2 at home this year with a 90-80 come-from-behind win over the Bobcats.
Coach Ricky Ford’s crew (5-6, 1-1) got off to a slow start in the first half shooting 9-of-29 from the floor (31 percent) and was unable to knock down a shot from behind the arc going 0-for-3. The Lady Tigers trailed by 23-points at the break 49-26.
In the second frame, Northeast came out on fire, going on a 21-7 run to cut the lead to 58-47 by the 13:30 mark 58-47 when Tiffany Martin converted on an old-fashioned, three-point play.
However, the Lady Bobcats (8-3) quickly responded with a 15-2 run of their own to take a commanding 75-49 lead and Northeast never fully recovered. Northeast hit only 2-of-10 from behind the arc and 18-of-40 from the floor in the second half.
Leading the way for the Lady Tigers was Anna Brooke Page who scored 21 points along with pulling down seven boards. Amber Johnson, Tiffany Martin, and Erin Strowder each added 10 points. Strowder was just one rebound short of her first collegiate career double-double, collecting nine boards in the effort.
Jones County was led by Tenecka Carey and Alondra Rivers. Carey had a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds along with Rivers’ 21-point, 10-rebound performance that helped the Lady Bobcats seal the deal.
In the nightcap, Northeast (4-8, 1-1) trailed 38-34 at halftime and by as many as 11 in the second half before battling back .
Freshmen Robert Wade and Jermaine Hollimon took over for the Tigers midway through the second frame along with sophomore point guard Tyler Pritchard, who got the Tigers back on track, spurring the Tigers to a 31-6 run. Back to back three-pointers from Hollimon pulled Northeast to within three at 55-52. Wade made it a one-point game with a bucket just a few seconds later.
Wade put the exclamation point on the Tigers’ run when he gave Northeast a lead it would never relinquish.
He split down the center of the lane and pulled off a one-handed dunk over two Jones County defenders on a spectacular play that ignited the home crowd.
“I knew that dunk would get the crowd and my teammates going,” explained Wade. “We needed something to get the momentum back and I thought a good dunk would help us get pumped up. After that, it was just a team effort to close out the win and I hope we keep going forward from here.”
Wade’s dunk proved to be the spark the Tigers needed as Northeast continued to expand the lead and pushed it to an eight-point advantage when Pritchard sank a pair of freebies with 8:23 left to play for a 63-55 cushion. Freshman Charlie Easley gave the host a 13-point lead when he nailed a big three-pointer from the left corner with 7:16 remaining in the contest.
Northeast stretched its second-half lead all the way to 16 with just over six minutes to play when Pritchard stepped to the line and swished a pair, staking the Tigers to a 73-57 advantage before Jones County mounted a comeback and pulled to within eight late in the contest.
Five Tigers finished the night in double digits with Pritchard leading the way with 20, Hollimon brought in 16 while Wade tallied 14. Cedric Janes netted 12 points in the win while Daniel Burton tallied an even 10. Janes picked up his first collegiate career double-double adding 11 boards to his scoring effort.
Jones County was led by Brandon Givens who dropped in a game-high 21-points with nine rebounds.