Meridian Star


January 18, 2013

Breaking through

East Central men win first game, look for many more

DECATUR —     East Central Community College head coach Maurice Bowie knew his 0-13 Warriors would play better than they had all season Thursday night at home against Gulf Coast. However, not even Bowie would have predicted his Warriors to come out and beat the Bulldogs 91-81.

    “We got better in our last game at Hinds,” Bowie said. “We just came out and played the way we were supposed to play and got our first victory. Today we played a lot better. I knew we were going to play well, I just didn’t know it would be this good.”

    The Warriors started fast, and kept up their intensity all night, leading Gulf Coast for most of the game. Much of the Warriors success stemmed from their ability to control the ball, something that haunted the team in its previous 13 games. East Central only committed 12 turnovers on the night, while forcing Gulf Coast to 17.

    “That was big,” Bowie said. “We have had some problems with turnovers earlier in the season. We have a young guy, Chris Rhoney, he had been having some trouble transitioning into the college game. Now he is playing with a whole lot more confidence in the second half of the season.”

    The former West Lauderdale Knight, Rhoney was one of the league’s leaders in turnovers entering the game. Against Gulf Coast, Rhoney only turned the ball over three times, while scoring 20 points and recording seven rebounds.

    “I feel way more comfortable now,” Rhoney said. “Me and coach have been working out at like 5:00 a.m. in the morning, working on my game. He has been working with me and telling me not to play too hard and just be smart.”

    Rhoney was one of four Warriors in double figures on the night, joining Randy Collier (12 points), Bobby Wrench (16 points) and Aquil Baynard (22 points).

    While the first win is something for the Warriors to celebrate, Bowie urged his team not to expect anything less heading forward. Bowie said the Warriors will remain focused on making a playoff berth this season. East Central travels to Copiah-Lincoln on Tuesday.

    “We are going to enjoy this tonight, but tomorrow we are going to come in and work hard,” Rhoney said. “We can be great, I mean we can really be great. We can hang one of those banners on the ceiling.”

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