EMCC opens conference hoops action with wins over Northwest Mississippi

Published 3:59 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

SCOOBA/SENATOBIA — East Mississippi Community College’s basketball teams successfully opened conference play by sweeping Northwest Mississippi during Thursday’s MACCC hoops action. Shakira Wilson’s career-high 33 points led the EMCC women to an 83-71 home win over the Lady Rangers, while eight first-half three-pointers sparked the Lions to a 70-64 road victory over Northwest in men’s action.

During women’s play at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum in Scooba, the Lady Lions jumped out to a 16-2 lead by the 3:40 mark of the opening quarter on the way to holding a 19-8 advantage through the game’s first 10 minutes.

The Lady Rangers responded by scoring the first 12 points of the second quarter to take their only lead of the contest.  Following back-to-back baskets by Maura Nunley, Northwest’s Tierra Trotter scored eight straight points to briefly put the visitors on top, 20-19, midway through the quarter.

EMCC responded with consecutive Markiema Lancaster buckets and later with seven straight points by Wilson to open up a 35-26 halftime advantage.

Following intermission, the Lady Lions extended their lead back up to 15 points (55-40) late in the third quarter on Jenessa Souza’s trey. The visitors answered by scoring the last six points of the quarter, as Nunley’s three-point play and subsequent three-point shot trimmed EMCC’s lead back to the halftime margin of nine points (55-46).

Northwest managed to get as close as seven points early in the fourth quarter, but Wilson tallied a dozen points, including a trio of treys, during a two-minute span to help stretch the Lady Lions’ lead to 20 points (76-56) by the 3:44 mark.

Wilson’s career night included 13-of-17 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 accuracy from beyond the three-point arc. The Southeast Lauderdale High School product also collected three rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist.

In recording her sixth double-double through the season’s first eight games, Kyunna Thomas had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lancaster totaled 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Siarra Jackson chipped in with 10 points and six boards for the winners.

The Lady Rangers also had four players score in double figures, led by Trotter’s 15 points. Nunley and Cailey Walker followed with 12 points apiece, while I’Yana Ragin added 10 points for the visitors.

In men’s action from Howard Coliseum in Senatobia, EMCC gained early control of the contest with the three-point ball. After trailing early in the game, the Lions drilled four treys during a two-minute stretch to help them gain a 17-12 lead by the 15:01 mark.

With the visitors still clinging to a slim 22-20 lead, Blake Butler then nailed a trio of three-pointers to extend EMCC’s advantage to 31-20 midway through the first half. The margin increased to 13 points (40-27) with four minutes left on a Traemond Pittman three-point play following a steal.

On the strength of eight made treys through the opening 20 minutes of play, the Lions maintained a 46-37 halftime advantage.

The Rangers made a couple of runs during the second stanza to keep themselves within striking distance. Two minutes into the half, Kavonte Tunstall’s basket trimmed EMCC’s lead to 48-43.  The visitors responded with buckets by Kevin Henry, Nick Walker and Brandon Deravine to bump the margin back up to double digits (54-43) with 14:30 remaining in the conference opener for both teams.

After Walker’s pair of free throws at the 5:30 mark made it a 64-51 contest, Northwest battled back again to cut the deficit to four points (64-60) with 3:42 left by scoring nine unanswered points. The Lions regrouped following a timeout by getting baskets from Danny Washington and Butler to push their lead back up to eight points (68-60), where the score stood until the final 20 seconds of the contest.

EMCC’s balanced scoring attack was led by Jakorie Smith’s 14 points. Highlighted by his game-changing, three-point shooting display in the opening half, Butler registered his first collegiate double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Washington added 13 points, while Walker and Pittman contributed nine points apiece to the winning effort. Walker also grabbed 11 rebounds to narrowly miss a double-double.

Isaiah Gaines topped all scorers with 20 points along with pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds, while Joseph Cooper followed with 19 points for the home-standing Rangers.

East Mississippi’s basketball teams will continue MACCC action by taking on Southwest Mississippi Monday evening (Dec. 6) on the respective campuses. Men’s head coach Billy Begley’s 6-2 EMCC Lions will play host to the SMCC Bears at Currie Coliseum in Scooba, while women’s head coach Sharon Thompson’s 4-4 EMCC Lady Lions will travel to Summit to meet the Lady Bears of Southwest. Both games Monday are slated for 6 p.m. tip-offs.