FULTON - Northwest's Martrevious Sanders sank a 3-point bomb at the final buzzer in Monday's MACJC North Division shootout against Itawamba.
Thankfully for ICC, the Rangers' mad bomber needed a 6-pointer.
The Indians, who sank 5 of 6 free throws in the final two minutes, held on to defeat visiting Northwest 75-72 at the Davis Event Center to go 2-0 in division play and cap a doubleheader sweep for the home team.
"He doesn't usually shoot that well," ICC coach Marty Cooper said of Sanders, who scored a game-high 26 points for the visitors. "They shot the ball better than they have been. Some of that was the lack of defense on our part."
ICC, which improved to 6-3 overall, led by as many as 11 points early in the second half. However, the Rangers roared back with a 16-6 run to cut the Indians' advantage to 50-49 with 12 minutes, 23 seconds remaining.
Sanders, a freshman from Tunica, scored nine points in the Rangers' run.
ICC, which was led by Jeremy Word and Vincenzo Nelson with 17 points apiece, got a lift from freshman Todd Nelson of Northwest Rankin, who came off the bench to score seven points during a 5-minute span to give the Indians some breathing room.
His layup at the 5:44 mark made it 65-59 ICC.
Nelson, who had a double-double with his 11 rebounds, connected on a fall-away jumper during the same time frame.
Northwest, now 7-3 and 0-2, came back to tie the score at 67-67 with 3:15 left on a short jumper by Everick Morris.
Word answered with a layup for ICC and Sanders counted with a runner in the lane to tie it again at 69-69.
Northwest missed on three straight field goal attempts while ICC sank its free throws down the stretch.
"You can't lose at home in the North Division," Cooper said. "Northwest is very good. They've played two of the better teams in the North. We know they'll be a factor."
Oxford's Justin Gillard added 18 for the Rangers.
(W) ICC 70, Northwest 54
ICC coach Nanci Gray got all she needed from her bench ... and then some ... in the Lady Indians' victory.
Two freshman forwards, Mandy Collins of Tupelo and Tiffany Pierce of Houston, combined to score 26 points and grab 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Indians to a 2-0 record in North Division play.
Collins scored 15 points, hitting six field goals from the perimeter, including a 3-pointer as ICC, now 6-4 overall, erased a 12-point deficit from early in the first half. She had eight rebounds.
Pierce scored 11 points and grabbed four boards.
"Our bench made the difference in the game," Gray said. "Pierce played well inside and Mandy nailed it when they left her open."
ICC freshman guard Noel Prestage of IAHS came off the bench to connect on two 3-pointers to help erase the Lady Rangers' early lead.
Collins said she spent more time in pregame warmups working on her outside shooting.
"That was definitely my best game shooting," said the 6-foot rookie. "I'm glad we got this win at home, against one of our rivals."
Collins works hard on her inside and outside game, Gray noted.
"We work Mandy a lot at the four, but she's much better shooting when she's facing the goal," the coach said.
Lori Crudup, a 5-10 sophomore from Pontotoc and the team's leading scorer (13.4 ppg), hot for a game-high 17 to lead the Indians.
Birdie Bowens, another sophomore, added nine points and hit two huge 3-pointers, one to end the first half to cut Northwest's lead to 35-34. The other was early in the second half as the Indians took an early 5-point lead and never trailed.
ICC shot 51 percent from the field while Northwest connected on just 30 percent.
De'Kisha Fondon scored 14 to pace the the Lady Rangers, who are now 4-4 overall and 1-1 in the division.
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Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal