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Jones County Junior College
900 South Court St.
Ellisville MS 39437

PH: 601-477-4089
FX: 601-477-4250

Dr. Jesse Smith

Athletic Director
Katie Herrington

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Joel Cain

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College News
JCJC's Zuppardo signs with Mississippi State University
April 21, 2014

By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – For Jones County Junior College’s Johnny Zuppardo, it’s all about the Southeastern Conference.

“Even in high school, I’ve always dreamed of playing in the SEC,” said Zuppardo, a 6-foot-9 forward who signed Wednesday with Mississippi State University. “This is truly a blessing. In my past with the schools I’ve been to, it’s been a humbling experience and it taught me a lot. It got me to where I am today.”

It’s been quite a ride for Zuppardo.

He played high school basketball at St. Stanislaus College before signing with Arkansas State University, who was coached by ex-LSU head coach John Brady. After seeing limited time as a freshman with the Red Wolves, Zuppardo transferred to Southern Miss for the 2012-13 season, which was head coach Donnie Tyndall’s first-year with the Golden Eagles.

After sitting out that season, Zuppardo transferred to JCJC where was reunited with Jay Ladner, who was his head coach at St. Stanislaus.

The 2013-14 season turned out to be a magical one for the Bobcats, as they captured their first-ever NJCAA Division I men’s basketball championship, winning the tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., in March and finishing the year with a 28-5 record.

“I want to thank Jones for bringing me in and letting me play basketball. This is a great institution and they do expect greatness,” Zuppardo said. “I also want to thank Coach Ladner for giving me the opportunity to play here and I want to thank all of my teammates. I would not be signing this scholarship today if it wasn’t for my teammates.

“I want to thank my family and friends who supported me and believed in me the whole way.”

Zuppardo averaged 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the national champion Bobcats this season. He shot 62.7 percent from the floor, 43.1 percent from the 3-point line and 76.1 percent from the free throw line.

It was Zuppardo’s 3-pointer at the buzzer in the Region 23 Tournament semifinals that lifted the Bobcats to a stunning, 73-72 win over East Mississippi that propelled the team to the nationals.

Zuppardo shined in the national tournament where he was named to the All-Tournament Team and helped the Bobcats win five games in five days.

In the Bobcats’ 81-79 first round win over Highland Community College (Ill.), he had 15 points and seven rebounds. In a 91-82 victory over Hill College (Texas) in round two, he had 32 points and eight rebounds. In an 86-79 victory over Chipola College (Fla.) in the quarterfinals, he had 19 points and six rebounds. In a 76-63 win over Vincennes College (Ind.) in the semifinals, he had 21 points and six rebounds.

In the 87-77 championship victory over top-ranked Indian Hills Community College (Iowa), Zuppardo had 10 points and seven rebounds.

With each Bobcat victory in the tournament, more and more senior colleges became interested in Zuppardo.

“At the national tournament when I heard all of those schools were interested, I tried my absolute best to block it all off and stay focused on strictly winning the championship,” he said. “It was kind of hard because schools were coming in after every game and it was a distraction. But I stayed focused and Coach Ladner got me focused.

“We had a goal and we were not going to leave Hutchinson until we had won a national championship. We would have won eight games if we had to, but we were going to win it all.”

The Bobcats practiced one day at Wichita State University while at the national tournament. The Shockers would eventually offer Zuppardo a scholarship.

St. Bonaventure called Zuppardo and offered him as the Bobcat team was traveling to the State Capitol in Jackson to be honored by state government officials four days after winning the NJCAA title.

The University of Washington, Tulane, Kent State and Iona were among schools that made offers to Zuppardo, but he elected to sign with Mississippi State after taking an official visit to Starkville this past weekend. He canceled an upcoming visit to Washington.

“It was a pretty tough decision,” Zuppardo said. “I prayed and made the most logical decision for me and I did the best thing for myself. I wanted my family to have a chance to see me play. I want to be able to come watch Jones play or just go home when I have a chance. It’s not too far away and it’s in the SEC. I’ll be able to play against great players and great teams and I cannot wait.”

There were other factors in Zuppardo’s decision.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 14-19 season and are looking for immediate help, especially on the inside.

Zuppardo, who can play with his back to the basket, as well as shoot the 3-point shot, is an excellent fit for the Bulldogs.

Zuppardo praised Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray and assistant coach Chris Hollender and how they handled the recruiting process.

“There are many reasons why I signed with Mississippi State,” he said. “First, I really appreciated how their coaches waited on getting me. I liked how they were honest with me. They were straight up with me. There was no confusion with anything. It was just a comfortable situation with the coaches and myself.

“I also picked the school because it was a place where I felt I could be successful. The players at the school are very talented and they have a lot of players coming back. Their guys seem ready and they want to win. It seemed like I could go in and help them.”

Zuppardo had a chance to meet with the returning Bulldog basketball players on his official visit.

“Seeing those players and how good they are – it’s one of the many reasons I’m  going to State,” he said. “Their potential and what they can be gets me all fired up and so excited. I want to keep interacting with the team and see how everybody’s personalities on the floor come together.

“To get back on the Division I level – I just cannot wait for it. It’s a blessing to sign with Mississippi State and I thank Coach Ray and Coach Hollender for giving me this opportunity.”

Zuppardo, who was named All-Region 23, to the All-Region 23 Tournament team and to the All-MACJC South Division first-team, still has one more game to play in representing JCJC.

He will participate in the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game at 3:30 p.m. on May 10 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

“That, too, is a blessing,” Zuppardo said. “Just to be picked to play among the best juco players in the nation is awesome. I am proud to represent Jones and my family and my coaches. I can’t wait to get out there and showcase my talents.”

For more on the All-Star game, go to www.jcbca.weebly.com.

Johnny Zuppardo of the national champion Jones County Junior College basketball team signs with Mississippi State University.

Photo/Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director

Lady Bobcats' Spane signs with University of North Florida
April 21, 2014

By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – Caitlyn Spane kind of recruited herself to join head coach Mary Tappmeyer’s University of North Florida basketball team.

“Two years before I started Jones, my brother got a job in St. Augustine,” the Jones County Junior College sophomore said on Thursday morning. “That was kind of my goal from the beginning – to kind of get close to him. I went out there to visit and it was so nice. I thought if I had a chance to go there, I would be close to him and we could work out together and I could get stronger. He is my only sibling, so I ended up contacting the coach at North Florida and she decided to give me a chance after looking at my film.

“I appreciate her for the opportunity and I believe I can help her team.”

Spane signed with the Ospreys on Wednesday.

The 5-foot-11 forward from Terry High School enjoyed an excellent career at JCJC.

She averaged 7.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore, helping the 19-8 Lady Bobcats capture the MACJC state championship. As a freshman, she averaged 11.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as JCJC went 12-11.

Spane’s 3-point play with 6.8 seconds remaining lifted the Lady Bobcats to a 75-73 victory over Southwest Mississippi in this year’s MACJC finals.

“That feeling was a feeling I’ve never felt before,” she said. “I want to have it again one day, but right now, it’s something I will continue to remember for a lifetime.”

Spane added that winning the state championship with the Lady Bobcats was the result of hard work and learning under head coach Sandra Sumrall.

“It was a really great experience for me,” she said. “Jones is a place where they expect greatness. From the start, Coach Sumrall got on our butts and we were getting better and better and better. She knew, deep down, if we kept on believing we would win the state championship. That was our goal from the very beginning and we ended up achieving that.

“Coach Sumrall did everything in her power to help us and she made sure we worked hard every day.”

Now, Spane looks to continue her athletic and academic career at UNF. It is an Atlantic Sun Conference school located in Jacksonville, Fla. The Ospreys were 6-23 this past season, so Spane is hoping to make an immediate impact.

“The University of North Florida is the best institution for me,” she said. “Academically, it’s strong. I’m majoring in health administration and there is also a Mayo Clinic not too far from the school. There are only four of those in the nation, so I plan to get an internship there, as well.

“The coach has sent several players overseas and she has been the only coach they have had since they started playing basketball (1992-93). I think she will be a good coach to make me better, like Coach Sumrall did. For me to continue with my college career, I feel like that’s the best place.”

Having signed the scholarship to attend UNF is a big relief for Spane.

Now, she can focus on academics and athletics and compete in a Division I basketball league.

“It relieves a lot of pressure,” she said. “Basically, in junior college you get your associates (degree), but you have to work hard so you can get to the next school and get your bachelor’s degree. It’s really competitive in junior college, but it’s a big pressure reliever going to the next level to get my bachelor’s.

“I know even if I don’t go overseas or go to the WNBA, I know I can get my bachelor’s in health administration. Maybe I can go forward with basketball if I continue to work hard.”

Lady Bobcat Caitlyn Spane signs with the University of North Florida, as head coach Sandra Sumrall watches.

Photo/Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information

Top-ranked Bobcats whip SMCC twice
April 21, 2014

SUMMIT – Jordan Stark homered in each game to help the top-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats sweep Southwest Mississippi here Wednesday afternoon.

In game one, Westin Stringer improved his record to 9-1 as the Bobcats whipped the Bears, 9-0. In game two, Daniel Goff did not allow an earned run in five innings as JCJC got the sweep, 11-4.

The top-ranked Bobcats are now 35-5 overall and lead the MACJC South Division at 15-3.

JCJC travels to Hinds for a huge 2 p.m. doubleheader on Friday. Hinds is currently 24-13 overall and is in second place in the division at 14-4. The Bobcats final home regular season doubleheader will be at 4 p.m. on April 23 vs. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Southwest, 13-23 overall and 7-13 in the division, travels to Pearl River on Friday.

Bobcats 9, Bears 0

Stringer was sharp once again on the hill for JCJC.

He pitched the first seven innings, allowed no runs, one hit, walked one and struck out seven. Kris Brown pitched an inning, allowing two hits. Perry Turner pitched an inning, allowing one hit and recording a strikeout.

Stark homered, doubled and drove in two runs, while Alex Shermer had a triple and two RBIs. Trent Giambrone singled twice, while Chase Hensley and Carter Polles each doubled. Tyler Graves added a single.

Andrew Hulbert singled twice for Southwest, while Payden Lynch and Logan Ferrell added singles.

Cliff Hurst started and took the loss. He went six innings, allowed nine runs (four earned), eight hits, walked none and struck out four. Caleb Crumpler went 2 2/3 innings, allowed no runs, no hits and walked three. Jordan McCaffrey pitched 1/3 of an inning.

JCJC led 1-0 after one inning and scored six runs in the third to take a 7-0 lead. They added two more runs in the sixth inning.

Bobcats 11, Bears 4

Stark continued his hot hitting in game two.

He homered, doubled twice, scored four runs and finished with eight total bases.

Giambrone tripled and singled, while Polles doubled and singled. Chris Morgan had a double, while Graves and Josh Pankratz added singles.

Goff went the first five innings as he upped his record to 4-0. He allowed one run (unearned), four hits, walked three and struck out four. Avery Owens pitched an inning, allowed one earned run, one hit and walked two. Kyle East pitched an inning, allowed two runs (one earned), three hits and walked one.

The Bobcats led 1-0 after one, but scored four runs each in the second and third innings to take a 9-0 lead. It was 10-1 after five. The Bobcats scored a run in the top of the seventh with the Bears scoring twice in their final at-bat.

Kendric Hodges doubled and singled twice for Southwest, while Trent Gordy doubled. Ferrell, Cole Guyton, Patric Devlin and Hulbert added singles.

Shane McKinley started and took the loss. He went 2 2/3 innings, allowed nine runs (eight earned), six hits, walked five and struck out two. J.D. Stockstill pitched 1/3 of an inning, allowed a hit and notched a strikeout. Chase Ladd pitched four innings, gave up two earned runs, three hits, walked one and struck out two.

No. 3 Lady Bobcats improved to 40-2 with sweep of Southwest
April 21, 2014

SUMMIT – The 3rd-ranked Jones County Junior College Lady Bobcats continued their impressive ways here Wednesday afternoon.

The Lady Bobcats used an eight-run sixth inning to defeat the Southwest Mississippi Community College Lady Bears 10-1 in six innings in the opener. In game two, the Lady Bobcats got a one-hitter from Teri Richey and a pair of home runs from Bailey Stokes to complete the sweep, 9-1 in six innings.

JCJC is now 40-2 overall and concludes MACJC South Division play at 26-2.

The Lady Bobcats will end the regular season at home with a 4 p.m. single game on Monday vs. Baton Rouge Community College (La.). JCJC will host the No. 4 team from the North Division in a best-of-three playoff series on April 25-26 at Community Bank Park.

Southwest, 11-26 overall and 7-19 in the division, ends its season at Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday.

Lady Bobcats 10, Lady Bears 1

(6 innings)

Samantha Buller improved to 21-1 by going the distance.

She allowed one run (unearned), three hits, walked one and struck out four.

Offensively, Tori Dew and Makenzie Hawkins each doubled and singled with Dew picking up three RBIs. She now has a nation’s best 91 runs driven in this year. CC Lawn and Stokes each had a pair of singles, while Kimberly Nilsson and Brittany Seale each had a single.

Harley Myers, Shaden Miller and Marisa Pruski each singled for SMCC.

Madison Teague started and took the loss. She went 5-plus innings, allowed 10 runs (eight earned), eight hits, walked eight and struck out two. Leann Jackson pitched one inning, allowed two hits and struck out one.

JCJC led 1-0 after two innings and the game was tied 1-1 after three. JCJC was up 2-1 after five before exploding for eight runs in the sixth.

Lady Bobcats 9, Lady Bears 1

(6 innings)

Richey walked none and finished with five strikeouts as she upped her record to 4-0.

Stokes homered twice and finished with three RBIs. Lauren Holifield also homered, while Brittany Seale doubled and singled twice. Savannah Lyon and Karla Santiago each had doubles, while Lawn, Nilsson and Dew had singles.

Chelsea Nette singled for SMCC’s only hit.

Keely Fortenberry started and took the loss. She went 5 1/3 innings, allowed nine runs (eight earned), 11 hits, walked five and struck out two. Jackson tossed the final 2/3 of an inning.

The Lady Bobcats led 1-0 after one, 2-0 after three, 5-0 after four and 6-0 after five innings.

Lady Bobcats move up to No. 3 in latest NJCAA DII poll
April 21, 2014

ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College Lady Bobcats moved up to No. 3 in the latest NJCAA Division II softball poll, which was released Wednesday morning.

The Lady Bobcats, 38-2, were No. 4 in the previous poll.

Phoenix College (Ariz.), 40-9, is the new No. 1. LSU-Eunice, 48-2, was No. 1 in the previous poll and dropped to No. 2. Kirkwood Community College (Mo.), 40-5, is No. 4, followed by Johnson County Community College (Kan.) at No. 5.

Itawamba is ranked No. 17, while East Central is listed in the “Other schools receiving votes” category.

To view the complete poll, go to www.njcaa.org.

The Lady Bobcats, who have clinched the MACJC South Division with a 24-2 record, conclude division play with a 3 p.m. doubleheader Wednesday at Southwest Mississippi. They end regular season play with a 3 p.m. home doubleheader on Monday vs. Baton Rouge Community College (La.).

JCJC will host the No. 4 team from the MACJC North Division in a best-of-three playoff series on April 25-26.

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