The East Central Community College basketball teams kept their playoffs hopes alive as they went on the road and swept MACJC South Division opponent Meridian in action Thursday, Feb. 14, at Graham Coliseum in The Queen City.
The ECCC Lady Warriors opened the evening with a 58-48 win over the Lady Eagles, followed by the Warriors defeating the Meridian Eagles 67-48.
In the men's action, the Warriors played a dominating second half in avenging a 79-63 loss to Meridian in January in Decatur. The two teams played it close most of the first half, with East Central leading 35-33 at the intermission. The final 20 minutes was all East Central as the Warriors outscored Meridian 32-15 to pick up the 19-point win.
Sophomore guard Roti Ware of Morton scored 19 points to lead East Central. Freshman forward JaQuarius Smith of Noxubee County added 15 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Devin Carter of Pearl had 12 points, and freshman guard Nick Preyer (Mobile, Ala., LeFlore) had six assists.
East Central outrebounded the Eagles 36-23.
With the win, the Warriors improved to 11-10 overall and 4-8 in MACJC South Division play. The Meridian Eagles fell to 7-13 overall and 2-10. East Central is now in a four-way tie for fourth place in the South Division with two games to play, both against teams they are tied with in the standings. The top four teams in each division qualify for the MACJC State Tournament.
In the opening women's game, the East Central Lady Warriors beat the Meridian Lady Eagles for the second time this season. The second matchup Thursday night was a low-scoring affair, with East Central pulling away in the second period to take a 13-point lead, 30-17, at the half. The Lady Warriors pushed out to as much as a 16-point lead in the third quarter before settling for the 58-48 win.
The Lady Warriors were led by the 12 points and nine rebounds of Diamond Wraggs of Louisville, who was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor. Sophomore forward Sharan Turner (Gonzales, La., East Ascension) was the only other East Central play in double figures.
East Central had a 12 rebound advantage in the contest.
The ECCC Lady Warriors are now 16-5 overall on the season and 7-5 in division play. The Lady Warriors are in a two-way tie for fourth place in the South Division with two games remaining. The Meridian Lady Eagles are now 9-12 overall and 3-9 in league play.
The Warriors and Lady Warriors will play their final home games when Hinds visits Brackeen-Wood Gym on Monday, Feb. 18, for Sophomore Night. The women's action begins at 5:30 p.m. and the men play at 7:30 p.m. East Central will close out the regular season with a trip to Summit to face Southwest on Thursday, Feb. 21. Those game times are 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.