The Meridian Star
Meridian Community College opened up its Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges conference schedule with a split against East Central Community College at Graham Gymnasium Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles started the doubleheader with a 92-65 win over Lady Warriors before ECCC hung on for a 71-69 win in the mens game.
Meridian (women) 92
East Central 65
With only seven active players on her roster, Meridian Community College women’s basketball coach Jocelyn McGilberry knew she needed a strong performance from her entire team if MCC was going to begin its conference slate on a positive note.
The Lady Eagles did not disappoint, rallying behind six double-digit scorers to top East Central 92-65. Victoria Stewart led MCC with 19 points to go along with eight assists on the game. Kristen Sampson followed with 18 points and was joined in double digits by Miaya Crowder (15 points), Shaquillia Manuel (13 points), Londyn Thomas (10 points) and Feleshia Walters (10 points).
“That’s what I tried to build the whole time,” McGilberry said. “We are a running team, transition offense and defense. They pretty much showed it tonight. We only have seven players, so we have to utilize them.”
The Lady Eagles raced to an early lead, going on an 8-2 run to begin the game. Meridian outran the Lady Warriors on offense and capitalized on points off of turnovers to eventually push the lead to 45-27 at the half.
MCC didn’t slow down in the second half either, as Stewart erupted for seven points early to send the Lady Eagles on a 14-0 run and take a commanding 69-37 lead with 14:43 left to play in the game.
With transfer point guard Kandice Sims held out due to unfinished paperwork, Stewart has been moved from shooting guard to the point this season. McGilberry said the transition has been effortless so far.
“I put her in that position one day at practice and she did exactly what she was supposed to do,” McGilberry said. “She does everything we her to do.”
MCC (6-1, 1-0) will host Hinds on Monday, while ECCC (5-4, 0-1) will travel to Pearl River.
East Central (men) 71
Trae Dunson was unable to hit on a potential game-winning three-pointer as regulation ended and the Meridian men’s basketball team fell to East Central, 71-69 Thursday night.
Trailing 71-67 with less then a minute, Donald King drove in the lane to cut the lead to 71-69. After a defensive stop on East Central’s next time up the court, King drew a foul to put him at the line for a chance to tie the game with 46.7 second left to play. However, the freshman guard was unable to sink either of his two free throws.
The Eagles (1-5, 0-1) got a final opportunity with 23 second left to play, but Dunson’s last-second shot from the right side of the arch found iron and the Warriors (5-4, 1-0) held on for the victory.
“Things weren’t going our way early,” first year ECCC head coach Robert Thompson said. “I knew we’d find a way and our kids just made something of it.”
Jacques Johnson led the Warriors with a game-high 26 points while Will Sheriff led the Eagles with 19.
“We were trying to run the turkey off him,” Thompson said of Johnson. “He was exhausted down the stretch, but he’s been one of our leaders all year. We expect that from him. He’s just a big player for us.”