The difficult thing about coaching offense is you just never if the little round ball is going to go in the hole.
Those were the words of East Mississippi Community College head coach Mark White following the Lions' 72-58 win over Gulf Coast in the opening-round of the Region 23 Tournament, Thursday at Mississippi College.
In the first half, that round ball wasn't doing EMCC any favors, as the Lions connected on only 8/27 shots, including a dismal 1/12 from beyond the arch. At the break, No. 2-seeded EMCC trailed Mississippi Delta 31-28 .
“We told our kids at the half, every game is going to be tough,” White said. “Especially in tournaments, it's tough for the higher seed. We told them last year, when we were the No. 1 seed and we were playing No. 8 Jones, we were down 10 in the second half. I just told them to stay with it, don't worry about the shot. I told them to just worry about the defensive end and the intensity.”
In the second half, the Lions did just that, out hustling Mississippi Delta for loose balls and offensive rebounds and tiring out the Trojans on both ends of the court.
More importantly, the open looks EMCC had been missing in the first half began to fall. The Lions shot 16/34 in the second half, including 4/8 from three-point range.
“I think our energy was really, really good in the second half,” White said. “As a coach, you know your energy is always going to be better when you are making shot, that's just the nature of the game.”
One key to the Lions' turnaround was point guard Jacolby Mobley. After going scoreless in the first half, Mobley went off for 12 points after the break.
“The thing about Jacolby that we always tell him is that, he is almost impossible to keep from driving,” White said. “We told him, be aggressive. Get inside, get that going first and things will get going.”
Another player instrumental to win was the Lions' leading scorer, Jarekious Bradley. The star forward came into the game shooting .535 percent from the field. However, Bradley shot only shot 6/19 on the day, starting the game cold from the field. Despite his slow start, Bradley came back to lead the Lions with 17 points, including five-straight baskets late in the second half as EMCC was pulling away.
“I wasn't feeling it today,” Bradley said. “We came out and didn't play like we should, and the shots weren't falling. We just told ourselves, it's win or go home, win or go home, and we had to get the job done.”
Former Northeast Lauderdale standout, A.J. Wade also had a productive night for the Lions, accounting for six assist and three steals.
EMCC will move on to play No. 1 seed Baton Rouge Community College on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Mississippi College in the second round of the Region 23 Tournament.
“They beat us both times we played them,” White said. “It's been a while, it's been like three months since we played them. Ricky Wilson does a great job coaching that team. They are well-coached, well-disciplined and are a great all-around team.”
Lions rebound to knock off Trojans 72-58
Meridian’s C.J. Hampton recommits to Ole Miss
For three days C.J. Hampton’s phone never stopped ringing. His name was plastered all over multiple social media outlets. The already high amount of interest concerning the Meridian High School safety’s college commitment only skyrocketed after he announced Wednesday on Twitter he was no longer committed to Ole Miss.
New name, same game, ‘Dark Horse’ debuts
With this being either the last week, or the first half of a two-week final, it is the most important week of the season. On top of that, there is no Thursday game and no byes. So, there are lots of players to pick from Sunday/Monday. I am going to keep my chatting and explanations short and try to give you as many names as I can, hope things go well for you.
- Saints D trying to solve turnover drought
NEWBERRY: The best and worst of 2013
The MTV Video Music Awards have lost all their hipness. The Emmys are a total snooze. The Oscars will surely overlook movies we've actually seen, like "Anchorman 2."
Not to worry. We present the second annual Newbys, our attempt to cash in on awards season without actually renting a tux or buying trophies.
Unfortunately, a percussion instrument didn't fit into the budget. So, imaginary drum roll please, for the best (and worst) in sports for 2013.
Southeast stops Philly, keeps control of district
The Southeast Lauderdale boys soccer team fought its way to a scrappy 3-1 win over Philadelphia Thursday night to solidify first place in the Division 3 standings.
Hood, Duke top UCLA at MSG
NEW YORK — It was an average performance from Jabari Parker, and it drew praise worthy of another stellar effort by the Duke freshman.
Associated Press releases Little All-Americans team
NEW YORK — West Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Vaughan and Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh have been selected to The Associated Press Little All-America team, which honors the top players in Division II, III and NAIA.
Adkins signs on with Louisiana Lafayette
Fresh off of earning Offensive MVP for East Mississippi Community College in the Mississippi Bowl, wide receiver Antoinne Adkins announced he will continue his college career at University of Louisiana Lafayette.
TSOUKALAS: JUCO players are worth the risk
Wednesday was the mid-year or Junior College Signing Day, a special day in Mississippi due to our storied success in JUCO football. Locally, East Mississippi Community College had 11 players signed by four-year schools, six of which will be playing for schools in BCS conferences.
- Jackson State fires Rick Comegy after 8 seasons
- More Sports Headlines
- Meridian’s C.J. Hampton recommits to Ole Miss