Xzandra Dowd pumped in 22 points and Jaianah Matthew chipped in 15 in leading East Central Community College to a key 70-63 victory over Southwest Mississippi Community College Monday night in the Brackeen-Wood Physical Education Building on the Decatur campus.
The Lady Warriors improved to 8-14 overall but more importantly 5-6 in the MACJC South Division in the final home game also billed as “Sophomore Appreciation Night.”
A berth in the MACJC State Tournament is now on the line for first-year head coach CrandaI Porter’s squad as they face Jones County Junior College at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 on the Ellisville campus in the regular season finale. The Lady Bobcats are also 5-6 overall and deadlocked with the Lady Warriors for fourth place.
Copiah-Lincoln leads the division at 10-1 followed by Southwest (8-4) and Gulf Coast (7-4). The top four teams in each division qualify for the state tournament, scheduled Feb. 25-28 and hosted by the MACJC South Division’s men’s winner. Pearl River and Southwest are the top men squads with 8-3 and 8-4 records, respectively.
Dowd, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Neville (La.) High School, made eight of 12 field goals and connected on one of two treys and five of eight free throws. She also led in rebounds with 15.
Matthew made six of 13 field goals and connected on three of 10 shots from three-point range. Matthew, a 5-8 sophomore guard, hails from Arkansas High School in Texarkana, Ark.
Also scoring were Jakela Johnson of West Jones, 11; Tyneisa Mickens of Noxubee County, eight; Niya Hughes of Forest, six; Reneisha Evans of Newton County, five; Ellen Black of Scott Central, two; and Taylor Brister of Lawrence County, one.
Katrina Littlepage had 18 points to lead the Lady Bears, who fell to 14-8 overall.
EC held a 41-39 advantage at halftime.
In the men’s game, EC dropped another close contest with a 64-59 setback to the Bears.
Bobby Wrench poured in 17 points to lead the Warriors, who fell to 2-20 overall and 2-9 in league play under seventh-year head coach Maurice Bowie.
Wrench, a 6-3 sophomore forward from Columbus, was also the leading rebounder with 10 boards.
Other point makers were Aquill Baynard of Elsik High School in Houston, Tex., 15; Chris Rhoney of West Lauderdale, 13; Tejiminion Leatherwood of Northridge (Ala.) High School, six; Randy Collier of South Leake, four; and Walter Evans of Hattiesburg and Jamere Eichelberger of Louisville, two each.
Devon Flowers tallied 15 points to lead the Bears, who improved to 15-8 overall and 8-4 in the division.
EC trailed 33-31 at the break.
The Warriors close out the 2012-13 campaign against Jones County Thursday. Game time is 8 p.m. on the Ellisville campus.