MOORHEAD -- The EMCC Lions successfully opened MACJC North Division play by grinding out a 63-57 road win over Mississippi Delta Monday evening at J.T. Hall Coliseum. The Lady Lions contributed to the doubleheader sweep with a commanding 85-55 victory over the Lady Trojans in women's action.
During the men's nightcap, the Lions gained an early double-digit lead (19-8) after scoring eight straight points midway through the opening half. After extending the first-half lead to 13 points (24-11) on a Donte Powers dunk following a steal, EMCC maintained a 28-18 advantage at the halftime break.
Powers' three free throws seven minutes into the second stanza then gave the visitors their biggest lead of the game at 43-29. The Trojans responded by scoring 10 unanswered points over the next four minutes to trim the deficit to four points (43-39) with nine minutes remaining in the contest. They then had a chance to tie the game with 5:48 left, but Cartisco Brown missed his free throw attempt after getting fouled on his made 3-pointer to keep the score at 50-49.
The Lions promptly answered with key baskets from Jakorie Smith and Powers to reclaim control of the contest. After Delta later pulled back to within three points (56-53) with 2:14 left following a pair of EMCC turnovers, Powers and Arecko Gipson Jr. essentially sealed the victory with back-to-back buckets during the final minute of play.
In snapping the Trojans' five-game winning streak, Coach Billy Begley's reigning conference champion EMCC Lions improved to 8-3 overall on the year with their third straight win. Powers and Smith led the way with 17 points apiece, while Gipson followed with a dozen points. Powers, out of Starkville, also collected six steals and five rebounds for the winners.
Falling to 7-4 on the year with their first loss since Nov. 18, the Mississippi Delta men were led by Latrell Carter's game-high 18 points. Darius Jackson and Brown added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Trojans.
In women's action, the Lady Lions used a 12-2 run after an early 7-7 tie to end the first quarter with a 19-9 lead. A 3-pointer by Topazia Hawkins then sparked a 14-1 EMCC run to begin the second quarter and open up a 33-10 advantage for the visitors. Highlighted by freshman Ja'Mia Hollings' 15 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds at the break, EMCC's comfortable margin stood at 24 points (39-15) heading into the intermission.
The home-standing Lady Trojans managed to cut the deficit to 17 points (49-32) after halftime, but EMCC responded with nine unanswered points late in the third quarter to take a 58-35 advantage into the fourth quarter. From there, the lead grew to 30 points (71-41) on Maddie Riley's three-point play midway through the quarter before expanding to 38 points (81-43) down the stretch.
With their ninth consecutive series win over Mississippi Delta dating back to the 2015-16 season, Coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC Lady Lions improved to 8-2 overall on the year. They will wrap up their pre-Christmas holiday slate by meeting Snead State Community College on Monday (Dec. 16) in Boaz, Alabama.
Hollings, out of West Point, registered her fifth double-double of the year with a season-high 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting along with 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Tye Metcalf followed with 18 points in addition to collecting eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. Riley, Taylor Lattimore and Aamiya Rush each added nine points for the winners.
Falling to 3-6 overall on the season, the Delta Lady Trojans were led by Venita Williams and Antanisha Wade with 11 points apiece.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will be back in doubleheader action when they return from the Christmas holidays by playing host to Meridian Community College on Monday, Jan. 6. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 men's contest at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.