HED:Tigers miss upset bid
By D.E. Wheeler
BOONEVILLE - Looking for an easy and successful season opening junior college basketball game don't schedule Three Rivers (Mo.).
Facing one of the nation's most consistent junior college powers, the Northeast Mississippi Community College Tigers held on for dear life, but Three Rivers prevailed in the end, 105-98, on the first night of the NEMCC Tip-Off Classic.
Other action Monday saw Marty Cooper's successful debut at Itawamba Community College as the Indians beat Columbia State (Tenn.) 82-61 and the Northeast Lady Tigers defeated Columbia 114-96.
Play continues today with Three Rivers facing the Itawamba men at 4 p.m., followed by the season opener for the Lady Indians against Columbia State at 6 p.m. and the host Tigers play Columbia at 8 p.m.
Three Rivers' depth helped it to a modest 52-42 halftime lead, but Northeast was determined to make the game interesting. The Tigers pulled to within three points twice in the second half, the last time at 85-82 on a Shaunta Ballard layup.
But two 3-pointers by Amory Sanders helped Three Rivers get a little cushion, and Northeast could not get closer than five points the rest of the way.
Eric Batchelor led the Tigers with 27 points, with Deltorio Campbell adding 15, Guy Gardner 14, Ballard 12 and Shauwn High 11. Sanders led Three Rivers with 27, with LaJuan Christian chipped in 24.
(M) Itawamba 82, Columbia State 61: Cooper made a successful debut as head coach of the ICC men, and the success was truly a team effort.
"I thought everybody we put in did a good job for us," Cooper said. "It's going to take a collective effort each time out for us."
Collecting 21 points for Itawamba was Baldwyn freshman Keena Robbins. After managing a 40-31 lead at the break, Robbins scored eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to help ICC to a 58-40 lead.
"He physically overmatched them inside tonight," Cooper said of the 6-foot-5, 253-pound forward. "Really, it was just an overall good team effort."
Also for ICC, Tupelo's Willie Poster totaled 21 points with Cameron Coleman of Tupelo adding 12. Marques Steele led the way for Columbia State with 15 points.
(W) Northeast 114-Columbia State 96: As much as the Northeast Lady Tigers were able to dominate the scoreboard, fouls dominated the game. There was a total of 73 between both squads.
"We fouled because we were out of position on defense," Lady Tigers head coach Ricky Ford said.
"I was very pleased with Kamiya Thorne's play," he continued. "She stepped up and shot the ball well. Everybody on the team contributed tonight."
Thorne, a 6-2 freshman, had 14 points. Twelve of those came in the first half as Northeast built a 52-39 lead. Jill McClain led the Lady Tigers with 22. LaMeeka Sears scored 16, followed by Sylvia Powell with 15 and Kelly Essary 10. Kami Lockridge and Angela Maxwell led Columbia with 15 each.
The Lady Tigers are in action again Nov. 9 at John C. Calhoun (Ala.).