Booneville, Miss. – A pair of Corinth natives helped the Northeast Mississippi Community College basketball programs to their first doubleheader sweep of the 2016-17 campaign.
Aundrea Adams and Kendall Stafford combined for 47 points in their respective games as the Lady Tigers defeated Arkansas Baptist College 79-64 while Northeast's men capped the evening with a 79-77 win on Wednesday, November 30 at Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
Adams paved the way for the Lady Tigers with her inaugural double-double at the collegiate level. She accumulated career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds to guide Northeast's efforts in the post.
"I think I had a good game," said Adams. "If you work hard on defense, it makes you feel better on the offensive end. Without my teammates, it would have been impossible. The assists from the guards and the communication down the floor. It felt great."
A 9-2 run that featured baskets by four separate Northeast athletes allowed the hosts to quickly build an eight-point lead. The Lady Tigers maintained that distance at the end of the first quarter after LaKeiya Lane made a layup as the horn sounded.
The Lady Buffaloes (0-9) battled back with nine unanswered points of their own to take a 27-24 advantage with 7:01 showing on the clock before halftime. However, Arkansas Baptist's lead lasted less than two minutes before Northeast mounted a response.
The Lady Tigers scored 18 of the final 23 points prior to the intermission. Adams pushed Northeast (2-3) ahead for good with 4:37 remaining in the second with an old-fashioned three-point play.
Timaya Stewart had two straight baskets, including one from long distance, while Tyra Tucker and Shelby Wilbanks both aided the lengthy scoring spurt that sent the Lady Tigers to the locker room with a 44-32 advantage.
Northeast's defense set the tone after the break by holding the Lady Buffaloes without a field goal from the 8:09 mark of the third quarter until there was 8:32 left in the game, which was a stretch of nearly 10 minutes.
"We've been working hard the last few weeks on playing as hard the second half as we did the first," Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes said. "Tonight was a perfect example of what we've been trying to accomplish."
Adams and Lane took control during that Arkansas Baptist drought by uniting to notch 11 points in a row. Northeast's lead swelled to 56-38 by the time Lane knocked down a pair of free throws with under three minutes to go in the third.
Tucker had two buckets and Jada Tubbs contributed to the scoring with a layup as well during the final period in which the Lady Tigers held their double-digit advantage from start to finish.
Lane finished in a stalemate with Adams for a team-high in points with 22 on eight makes from the field and five free shots. She also tied Tucker and Wilbanks for the most assists on the squad as well with four.
Wilbanks had a solid stat line that included 13 points, 13 boards, four dimes, three steals and two blocks. It is the twelfth double-double of her phenomenal tenure in the City of Hospitality and the first of her sophomore campaign.
"We're a young team and it's really good for us to get that motivation as we go towards the Christmas break," said Wilbanks. "Personally, it feels really good about getting in there and helping Aundrea out with the rebounds."
Stewart tallied 12 points to round out the list of top scorers for Northeast. Tucker barely missed recording her second double-figure performance of her freshman season with eight points.
The Lady Tigers controlled a plus-14 edge in rebounding, which is their greatest margin of the year to date. Northeast also had 56 points in the paint and shot 44.9 percent from the floor overall.
Stafford made a triumphant return to the starting lineup in the nightcap by pouring in a career-high 25 points. He was 8-of-12 from the field with two critical treys late in the matchup as well.
"It felt pretty good to help my team get the W," Stafford said. "When I hit my first three, I just felt like I was ready. I just went with it and did my job. We did our things and we're going to keep pushing forward."
Both teams went back-and-forth in a contest that came down to the wire. Neither team went ahead by more than eight points and there were 13 lead changes plus five other instances in which the game was tied.
The Buffaloes (7-5) actually led Northeast for a majority of the opening period. Kendarius Smith finally put the Tigers up with 6:38 remaining until halftime with a steal and layup on the other end of the court.
Arkansas Baptist and Northeast exchanged leads eight times over the next six-plus minutes. Shunn Buchanan drilled a three-pointer with mere seconds left in the half to give the Tigers (4-1) a 41-39 edge at the intermission.
Stafford connected on two straight baskets to lift Northeast to its biggest margin of the matchup at 47-41 just minutes into the second. But the Buffaloes built their advantage back to eight points midway through the half.
The Tigers responded with an 11-2 streak of their own that encompassed over three minutes of clock. Bryce Smith began the run with a lay-in and then Stafford drained back-to-back shots from long distance that placed Northeast ahead permanently.
Arkansas Baptist kept things interesting, though, even with the Tigers making six of their last eight free throws. But Anthony Black's three-point attempt as the clock expired hit the side of the rim to secure another early marquee victory for Northeast.
"I credit our guys for hanging in there and fighting," said Tigers headman Cord Wright. "We've got some experience, but we've also got some young guys learning to grow. We've got a long way to go, but I've got good players and we found a way."
Buchanan had the best night to date of his blossoming career at Northeast. The former Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection registered his first-ever double-digit performance and double-double in the same game with 10 points and 10 assists.
"I couldn't do it without my teammates," Buchanan said. "I give all my credit to them and to God. Some people like to score, but passing makes me excited. I look for them and I know they're very good players so I just find them."
Murray State University signee Leroy Buchanan reached double figures for the fifth consecutive contest to open the year with 11 points. He also matched Stafford with a team-best eight rebounds as well.
Kendarius Smith barely missed double-digits with nine points for the Tigers, who are receiving votes in the preseason National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll and are No. 25 in the Sporting News magazine rankings.
Northeast set a new season-high against the Buffaloes with five blocks. Bryce Smith paced that effort with two swats while the Buchanan brothers and Kendarius Smith provided one block apiece as well.
The Tigers shot 45.9 percent overall on their home court. Northeast had 40 points in the paint, 20 points off turnovers and outscored Arkansas Baptist by a 20-14 clip in bench points.