BOONEVILLE, Miss. – Northeast Mississippi Community College men and women's basketball teams picked up a pivotal sweep of Coahoma Community College on Thursday, February 14 at Bonner Arnold Coliseum in Booneville.
David Robbins' Tigers knocked off Coahoma 92-82 in the nightcap to keep their Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament chances alive while Brian Alexander's Lady Tigers locked up a berth in the state tournament with an 83-53 win in the opener. The Lady Tigers are now 7-3 in MACJC North Division play which is the best 10 game start since the 2005-2006 season.
With the win, the Tigers sit at 4-6 in the North Division but are tied with Holmes Community College for fifth in league. Northeast and Holmes battle it out in Goodman on Monday, February 18 with both teams sitting just a half game out of the crucial fourth position in the divisional standings.
Robbins' Tigers inched closer to the playoffs with the 10-point win over Coahoma closing the gap between the two Tiger squads. Coahoma currently sits in fourth in the division – with the top four teams advancing to the state tournament – with a 5-6 mark in the league.
Northeast also has a chance for third in the division if the cards fall right for the Tigers. Mississippi Delta is a full game ahead of Northeast and Holmes at 5-5 in the league standings but the Trojans host Itawamba on Monday, February 18 before coming to Booneville for sophomore night on Thursday, February 21.
Coahoma has only one league game left to play and that's when division leading East Mississippi makes a trip to Clarksdale on Thursday, February 21.
While the Tigers are clawing their way into the playoff hunt, the Lady Tigers are in the state tournament via their 30-point win against the visiting Lady Tigers on Thursday, February 14.
With just two division games left to play, Northeast is tied with Northwest Mississippi for second in the division with identical 7-3 marks while Mississippi Delta, East Mississippi and Holmes are battling it out for fourth in the league with 4-6 divisional marks.
This year's MACJC State Tournament will be held at the South Division men's champion where Pearl River is currently leading the pack with an 8-2 record in the league with two games to play. Southwest Mississippi is 1.5 games behind the Wildcats in the standings at 7-4 in the division on the year but Pearl River and Southwest have split the regular season series.
In the men's 92-82 win over Coahoma, Northeast broke open a close halftime affair (37-35) with a 55-point second half in sealing the deal.
After Alan Morris tied the game for Coahoma at 70-70 with 6:04 left, Northeast would push the lead back out to six with a 6-for-6 showing at the charity stripe.
Keldrick Lesley gave the host the lead back with two freebies at the 5:48 mark and KeDorian Sullivan tallied four points at 4:38 and 3:27 with a 4-for-4 showing at the free throw line.
Northeast would make its stand at the charity stripe but a late flurry of points allowed the Tigers to seal the deal.
After Ian Burress knocked down six straight from the free throw line to give Northeast an 83-78 lead with 1:28 to go, Tyler Brunson and Malcolm Hamilton put the exclamation point on the win with back-to-back dunks.
Five Tigers found their ways to double digits in the win with Ripley's Acie Vance leading with a game-high 21 while Brunson and Sullivan tallied 15 points apiece. Tadarius Coburn and Hamilton had a dozen apiece while Burress had nine point in the win.
In the women's game, the Lady Tigers had an easy walk to a state tournament berth as Northeast used a 32-0 over a 16 minute time span to win it 83-53.
"I am proud of these young ladies and their efforts," Alexander said. "They work hard and are determined to finish this season strong."
After Antoinette Mayfield gave Coahoma a 5-4 lead with 17:06 left in the first half, Coahoma would not tally another basket from the floor until Breanna Wiley finally found the range with 1:01 left in the half.
Six Lady Tigers got in on the scoring during the 32-0 run for Northeast with Angelia Allen leading the way with eight points.
At the half, Northeast held a 40-11 lead and never looked back after Coahoma went 3-for-22 from the floor.
Allen led the way for Northeast on the night with a game-high 22 while Gadison finished with 21. Antionette Riddle was the only other Lady Tiger in double-digits with 12.
With Allen and Gadison leading the way, eight Lady Tigers scored in the 30-point win.