Meridian Star

Sports

January 11, 2013

Getting Defensive

MCC women muscle past EMCC in overtime

MERIDIAN —     Gelese Lampton and the Meridian Community College women’s basketball team muscled their way past rival East Mississippi, taking down the Lions 48-44 in overtime Thursday night at Graham Gymnasium.

    The sophomore guard, Lampton led the Eagles with 27 points on the night, and was one of the only bright spots in terms of shooting for MCC.

    “It was just a defensive game,” Lampton said. “We had to play good defense and play hard on both ways. We had to work through it and work as a team.”

    The teams battled through turnovers throughout the first half, with EMCC taking a 19-17 lead into the break.

    The Lions would come out of the break hot, going on a 8-0 run early in the half to pull ahead as 29-20. However, the Eagles stayed alive, relying on Lampton as well as forward Ashtin McNichols, a former Newton High standout, to keep them in the game.

    “It was a gritty game,” MCC coach Jocelyn McGilberry said. “I’m just proud of the girls and how they played today. Everyone of them, the girls came out ready to play tonight, and I’m proud of everyone of them.”

    Down 38-31 with less than three minutes left to play, the Eagles began their comeback. McNichols got MCC started putting in a bucket in the post before Lampton hit a 3-point shot with 1:28 left to make the score 38-36.

    The Eagles continued their strong defense on EMCC’s next possession, stopping the Lions on the other end before McNichols earned a trip to the line with 28.4 seconds left. The sophomore calmly drained one free throw and then another to tie the game as the home crowd erupted.

    A double dribble penalty forced the Lions into a turnover. However, MCC was unable to respond, turning the ball right back over on a double dribble penalty of its own.

    In overtime, the two teams traded blows, until MCC freshman Kristin Sampson found the bottom of the net to put the Eagles up 46-44 with 23.4 left in the game.

    On the Lions’ next possession, EMCC freshman guard Nockeyia Qualls was whistled for a turnover when she stepped on the baseline. Lampton then knocked down two free throws after being fouled to secure the win.

    “It  was a good win for us,” Lampton said. “We had to work hard to get over the hump, and we just worked hard to night and got through the game.”

    MCC improves to 11-5 with the win and hosts Delgado on Saturday at 2 p.m., EMCC falls to 2-10 and will host Mississippi Delta on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

    

Tired EMCC holds on

     Despite being on its second-straight game playing with only six players, East Mississippi Community College held on to beat Meridian Community College Friday night 67-63.

    The Lions got out to a comfortable lead early, riding a strong performance from freshman guard Mack Foster who shot 5/6 in the first half including four three-pointers. Foster shot 9/14 including 6/7 from beyond the arch on the night. The freshman reached a career-high 27 points for EMCC just two days after reaching a career-high 19 against East Central on Tuesday.

    “I felt the touch tonight,” Foster said. “I felt the touch Tuesday night as well, I think my performance just carried into the night.”

    The Lions would take a 37-24 lead into the half, however , the winless Eagles would chip back.

    MCC slowly wore down the depleted EMCC squad, forcing the Lions into sloppy play in the second half.

    The Eagles would go on an 11-0 run late in the second half, cutting the lead down to 58-57. However, down 65-61 with under a minute left in the game, MCC’s Nick Water’s three-point attempt fell short, allowing EMCC to hold on for the win.

    “Everybody steps up to play East Mississippi,” Foster said. “They played us tough tonight.”

    EMCC improves to 8-4 with the win, while MCC drops to 0-17 on the season. EMCC will return all six of its suspended players for its next game on Monday against Mississippi Delta.

    “It will be a hell of a relief,” Foster said. “I will get to sit down and have some rest. But I will do anything my team needs me to do. If I need to play 40 minutes I will.”

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