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PRCC teams in Region 23 action

CLINTON — The annual Region 23 Basketball Tournament gets underway today here at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College, but this year’s event has a new twist to it.

Three NJCAA National Tournament berths are on the line this week as opposed to the normal two spots that have been contested here for years.

Eight women’s and eight men’s squads will provide the hoops action with the women’s title bout contenders grabbing two national berths, while the regional men’s champ will earn a berth. That scenario changes annually, as next year the men’s top two finishers will snag two national berths to the women’s one.

Women’s quarter-final action gets underway Wednesday, while men’s quarter-finals start Thursday — setting the stage for Friday’s semi-final rounds and Saturday’s championship games.

The NJCAA began adding at-large teams from selected regions for the national tournaments last year. This year, the Region 23 women will have an at-large selection in addition to the tournament champion.

Not only are both PRCC teams in the event, but both EMCC teams are involved as well.

The regional semifinals will be contested Friday with the women playing the noon and 2 p.m. games, while the men’s semis are set to take place during the night session at 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday’s 6 p.m. women’s championship game will be followed by the 8 p.m. men’s title tilt.

After the JCJC/Co-Lin matchup at Noon today, Region No. 5 team Baton Rouge Community College (La.) battles Mississippi No. 3 Meridian Community College at 2 p.m.

On the other half of the bracket, Mississippi No. 2 Southwest faces Region No. 6 East Mississippi at 6 p.m., followed by Louisiana No. 1 LSU-Eunice vs. Mississippi No. 4 Pearl River at 8 p.m.

Following the JCJC/Southwest men’s game Thursday at Noon, No. 4 Mississippi Gulf Coast faces No. 5 East Mississippi at 2 p.m. MACJC champion and No. 2 seed Itawamba plays No. 7 seed Northwest at 6 p.m. and No. 3 seed Southern-Shreveport (La.) faces No. 6 seed Pearl River at 8 p.m.