ECCC women upset MCC to advance on in regional basketball tournament
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - After falling to Meridian Community College twice in the regular season, East Central Community College’s women’s basketball team was determined to not let the Lady Eagles beat them for a third time.
The stakes were much higher this time around as both teams faced off in the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 23 Tournament on Wednesday night.
MCC was down 7 points entering the fourth quarter but quickly erased its deficit. The Lady Warriors went on an 8-0 scoring run thanks to a made basket and two 3-pointers from sophomore guard Berniya Hardin to take back the lead.
Both teams would keep the score close in the final frame of play with No. 13 ECCC up by one point with 2:21 left to play.
With less than a minute to play, the Lady Warriors had a 48-43 advantage. MCC attempted a 3-pointer and basket down low to try and tie up the game but couldn’t get both shots to fall.
Down the stretch, ECCC’s Sylvia Jones went 4-4 from the free throw line to secure a 52-43 win for the Lady Warriors and upset No. 4 MCC.
After a rocky regular season that included six-straight losses, ECCC head coach LaTaryl Williams said he was proud of his team for stepping up when it mattered most.
“My players have had every opportunity the throw the towel in this year. We had all kinds of problems with COVID, family problems, the ice storm - just different setbacks all season,” Coach Williams said. “It’s a testament to them how they had the will to come out here and play this game at a high level.”
Both regular season losses to MCC were decided by eight points. Coach Williams said knowing that the previous two contests were so close, he knew his team could pull off the win and avoid watching their season come to an end.
“I’m just so proud of the team. I knew we had the talent to win a game like this and had the talent to be successful,” Coach Williams said. “We had so many obstacles but we overcame them at the right time.”
ECCC will now travel to No. 5 LSU Eunice Monday at 6 p.m for the tournament quarterfinals.
MCC ends the year with an 11-4 overall record that included two regular season losses to No. 1 Jones and regular season finale loss to Pearl River.
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