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EMCC Lions scratch out key 64-58 road win over Holmes in division opener; Lady Lions fall 51-48
 November 30, 2012

GOODMAN – The three-time reigning MACJC North Division Champion Lions of East Mississippi Community College successfully tipped off their division basketball slate with a key 64-58 road triumph over Holmes Community College Thursday evening at Frank Branch Coliseum.  In women’s action, the home-standing Lady Bulldogs held off EMCC’s Lady Lions for a narrow 51-48 victory.
After trailing the better portion of the opening half and down 31-28 at the break, the Lions clamped down defensively to begin the second stanza on a 14-0 run.  EMCC mounted a 45-32 advantage before the Bulldogs managed their first made field goal of the half on a reverse lay-in by Demarcus Lewis coming at the 10:50 mark.  Holmes’ first point of the second half didn’t come until Kenitric Gillum hit 1-of-2 free throws at the 11:33 mark.

From there, the visitors maintained control of the division opener en route to claiming their seventh straight series win over Holmes dating back to the 2009-10 season.  Also three-time defending champions of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament as national tournament participants, head coach Mark White’s Lions are now 34-3 collectively in regular-season division play since 2009-10.

Entering the contest leading the NJCAA scoring ranks at 30.5 points per game, sophomore transfer Jarekious Bradley was held to a season-low scoring total but managed to still lead EMCC with 18 points against Holmes.  The former Memphis East High School product by way of Midland College in Texas nailed a clutch, step-back 3-pointer to pad a precarious four-point lead to a 56-49 margin just under the 4:00 mark.

Former Brandon High School standout Trey Brown and fellow sophomore Micah Walker, of Jonesboro, Ark., followed with 10 points apiece for the winners, who improved to 4-1 on the season.  

Falling to 5-4 overall, the Holmes Bulldogs were led by Lewis’ game-high 24 points.  Gillum and DeAndre Scott were next with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

In the women’s division lid-lifter, the visiting Lady Lions managed to cut a 10-point, first-half deficit in half to trail 25-20 at the halftime break.  After falling back by nine points (31-22) three minutes into the closing period, the EMCC women went on an 11-1 run to claim their first lead since early in the contest.

Seven lead changes later, Holmes’ DeNesha Dillard drilled a clutch 3-pointer with about three minutes left to put the Lady Bulldogs on top (43-41) for good.  Powered by the inside play of freshman post player Savannah Kimmons, the EMCC women had their chances down the stretch.

With less than a minute remaining in the contest and trailing 47-44, EMCC easily broke Holmes’ press and Leah Isabelle nailed a wide-open perimeter jumper.  However, the freshman’s foot was on the three-point line to keep it a one-point margin.  During the final seconds after Kosciusko product Jessica Miles put the Lady Bulldogs on top 51-48 with a pair of crucial charity tosses, Isabelle then found herself involved in the game’s final play.  This time, the Pass Christian native received a kick-out pass from a driving Takera Mitchell.  Opting not to pull up for the potential game-tying trey attempt, Isabelle chose to drive to the basket and was whistled for travelling with the game clock running out.
In dropping their sixth straight decision, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions fell to 1-7 on the campaign.  Kimmons, from Horn Lake High School, tallied 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half.  Mitchell followed with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists but was hampered by 11 turnovers.

Improving to 4-5 on the year and snapping a four-game losing skid, the Lady Bulldogs were paced by Tamia Grady’s game-high 18 points.  Miles added a dozen points and team-high nine rebounds for the winners.

The EMCC women stay on the road to battle unbeaten (8-0) Shelton State Community College Monday night (Dec. 3) in Tuscaloosa.  The Lady Lions and Lions will then head to Decatur together to take on rival East Central Community College Thursday evening (Dec. 6).     

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