CLARKSDALE – The East Mississippi Community College basketball teams swept home-standing Coahoma Community College during Monday night MACJC North Division hoops action played at the Pinnacle. The Lady Lions benefitted from a big third quarter to pull away with an 89-77 victory, while the Lions capitalized on a solid defensive effort to complete the sweep with a 70-64 win in the men's nightcap.
The women's game was tightly contested throughout the opening half of play. An 18-16 EMCC lead at the end of the first quarter grew to eight points (31-23) after the visitors scored eight unanswered points midway through the second quarter. The Lady Tigers managed to cut into the deficit and trailed by only three points (37-34) heading into intermission.
The Lady Lions began the second stanza by making a 13-2 run that put them on top by 14 points (50-36) midway through the third quarter. Walneika Holmes helped keep Coahoma in the game with her long-range shooting and trips to the charity stripe. After the Lady Tigers pulled to within eight points (55-47), the visitors regained control of the game by keeping the margin at double digits for the remainder of the contest.
EMCC's cushion grew to as many as 18 points on two occasions during the final period before Coahoma scored the last six points of the game to make it a 12-point outcome.
Sparked by Tyeisha Juhan's game-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-8 from the three-point arc, head coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC women improved to 10-7 overall and 5-3 within the division. Freshman Brianna Page scored all but one of her 17 points in the second half, while Columbus' Kayla Rogers, who played for Coahoma last season, added 14 points and eight rebounds to the winning effort.
Dropping to 2-16 overall and 0-10 in the division, Coahoma's Lady Tigers were led by Walneika Holmes' 28 points. Geneva Walker followed with 19 points.
The men's nightcap was just as competitive as the women's contest, especially through the opening 20 minutes of action. The largest lead for either team in the opening half was five points. After EMCC held a 34-31 edge at halftime, freshman Terryonte Thomas scored seven points early in the second half to help stake the visitors to a 44-37 lead. Coahoma's Marcus Summerville answered with two straight baskets of his own to make it a two-point game by the 14:11 mark.
That's when the Lions began to step up their defensive intensity to initially take command of the game. During their 15-3 run, the visitors held the Tigers to without a made field goal during an eight-minute stretch that saw the visitors open up a 14-point advantage (61-47) late in the half.
With four made 3-pointers over the game's final three minutes, Coahoma did not go down quietly. A late trey by Quintarius Boatman narrowed the deficit to four points (67-63), but EMCC freshman guard Cam Horton hit 3-of-4 free throws during the game's waning seconds to seal the six-point road victory for the Lions.
Improving to 10-9 overall and 3-5 within the division, head coach Billy Begley's EMCC men were powered by Terryonte Thomas' game-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 accuracy from the charity stripe. The New Hope High School product also had eight rebounds. Ripley's Dewayne Cox and Starkville's Keith Harris added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the winners.
Falling to 3-16 overall and 1-9 in division play on the year, the Coahoma Tigers were led by Boatman and Summerville with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Continuing MACJC North Division play, the East Mississippi basketball teams will head to Booneville to take on the Tigers of Northeast Mississippi during Thursday doubleheader hoops action. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 men's contest at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the NEMCC campus.