The East Central Community College men's and women's basketball teams both moved a step closer to postseason play with big wins over Hinds Community College in the final home games of the season in Bracken-Wood Gym in Decatur Monday, Feb. 18.
The ECCC Lady Warriors took care of business in the opener with a 76-59 win over the Hinds Lady Bulldogs. The Warriors, needing a win to stay in contention for a postseason berth, defeated the Hinds Bulldogs 85-68.
It was Sophomore Night at East Central as all sophomore basketball players and managers were honored before each game. It also was the annual Pink Out Breast Cancer Awareness game for the women's team.
The win improved the Lady Warriors to 17-5 overall and 8-5 in MACJC South Division play. East Central is now in a three-way tie for third place in the South Division with Pearl River and Gulf Coast. Two of those three teams will play in the MACJC State Basketball Tournament next week, while one will be eliminated after Thursday's games.
The Warriors improved to 12-10 overall and 5-8 and stand alone in fourth place in the South Division. East Central can punch its ticket to the state tournament with a win at Southwest on Thursday.
The Lady Warriors overcame a poor shooting night and a first half deficit in the win. East Central shot just 33 percent from the floor in the first two periods, and hit only 4 of 23 three-point tries and 8 of 20 free throws in the contest. The Lady Bulldogs (6-15, 1-12) led 30-29 at the intermission, before East Central pulled away in the third period to take control of the game.
Three Lady Warriors scored in double figures led by sophomore guard Breanna Riley of Biloxi with 19 points on 9 of 13 shooting from the floor. Sophomore forward Sharan Turner (Gonzales, La., East Ascension) added 17 points. Sophomore forward Diamond Wraggs of Louisville would score 12 points and pull down 12 rebounds, as the Lady Warriors controlled the boards with a 20 rebound advantage for the game. Sophomore guard Feria Mays of Kosciusko had a game-high six assists.
East Central shot lights out from the floor in the men's game, but it took a big second half to put away the Hinds Bulldogs.
Leading just 33-29 after 20 minutes, the Warriors scored 52 points in the final 20 minutes of play to put the game away. East Central shot 63 percent from the floor for the game, including 53 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
Five Warriors scored in double figures in the 17-point win over the Hinds Bulldogs (11-11, 4-9) as East Central won its fourth straight outing. Sophomore guard Roti Ware of Morton had 17, sophomore guard Josh Green of Harrison Central had 15, freshman forward JaQuarius Smith of Noxubee County scored 13, and freshman guard Devin Carter of Pearl had 11. Freshman guard Nick Preyer (Mobile, Ala., LeFlore) had a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists.
East Central will close out the regular season with that trip to Summit to face Southwest on Thursday, Feb. 21. Those game times are 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
The 2019 MACJC State Basketball Tournament will be played Feb. 25-28 on the campus of Jones College in Ellisville. The top four teams from the MACJC South and North divisions qualify for the tournament.
Six sophomore members of the East Central Community College women's basketball team and one manager were honored prior the game with Hinds Feb. 17. Those honored and their respective high schools were (from left) forward Diamond Wraggs, Louisville; guard Feria Mays, Kosciusko; guard Riann McCollum, Douglass High School (Atlanta, Ga.); forward Sharan Turner, East Ascension (Gonzales, La.); guard Breanna Riley, Biloxi; manager Jamie Lane, Ridgeland; and forward Whitney Waters, Heidelberg. Shown with the players is head coach LaTaryl Williams and assistant coach Kristen Sampson. (EC Photo)