BOONEVILLE – Playoff implications abound for both Northeast Mississippi Community College basketball programs as they reach the last week of the 2015-16 regular season.
The Lady Tigers and Tigers begin the final stretch of the schedule on Monday, February 15 with a visit to Coahoma Community College. Tipoff for the women’s matchup is 6 p.m. with the men to follow at The Pinnacle.
Northeast then plays its final home doubleheader of the campaign three days later against Holmes Community College. A night filled with several special events begins at 5:30 p.m. with ladies action.
The brand new hospitality suite that was part of the recent renovations to legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum will officially be dedicated in honor of Northeast Sports Hall of Fame inductee Earline “Woodsie” Woods with a ribbon cutting at halftime of the Lady Tigers’ contest.
Sophomore cheerleaders, dancers and hoops players are set for one final hurrah in the City of Hospitality with a special ceremony between games. It is also five-county appreciation night with high school students from Northeast’s traditional service area including Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union counties receiving free admission.
Those that cannot attend either night can watch live on NEMCCTV, which is the broadcast home of all nine Northeast intercollegiate athletic teams. Join Jeremy Kennedy, the Voice of the Tigers, 15 minutes prior to the start of the women’s tilt for comprehensive coverage by visiting www.nemcctv.com on any computer, smartphone or tablet.
Search and follow @NEMCCTigers on Twitter for live in-game updates and interact during the contests by using the hashtag #TigerPower across all social media platforms.
The Tigers are in a stalemate for first place in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division with the Bulldogs. Northeast has already secured its berth to the postseason.
“For us, we’ve gotta focus on the next opponent,” Northeast headman Cord Wright said. “We have to play together as a team and continue to do what we’re supposed to and then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Kendall Stafford has increased his productivity down the stretch for the Tigers (15-6, 7-3). The Corinth High School graduate is averaging 13.3 points and 6.7 rebounds over Northeast’s three most recent outings.
Callaway High School alumnus Wesley Harris continues to guide the Tigers with 17.6 points and 7.9 boards. Madison Central High School’s Leroy Buchanan is the only other Northeast standout in double figures at 14 points per matchup.
Coahoma (4-17, 1-9) is a much better team inside its own venue with each of its victories coming in Clarksdale. Freshman Dewuan Fowler paces the Tigers with 15 points each game.
University of Arkansas signee Daryl Macon leads Holmes for the second consecutive year with 21.9 points. The Bulldogs (16-5, 7-3) come to the Booneville campus as reigning MACJC North Division champions.
The Lady Tigers are still in the hunt to make the MACJC State Tournament. Northeast currently sits in fifth place behind Holmes for the fourth and final spot from the North Division.
“Our goal is to dust off the dirt and hit the floor running,” said Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes. “I think that we have fought all year to get better and better. We’ve just got to continue to work.”
Shelby Wilbanks of Walnut has been exceptional during her freshman campaign in the City of Hospitality. She averages a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to anchor Northeast in the post.
Bridgejae Patterson also posts outstanding numbers for the Lady Tigers (10-11, 4-6) with 10.7 points and 11 boards. Timaya Stewart has reached double-digits in 12 of Northeast’s last 13 contests as well.
Coahoma sophomore Eugenia Gilliam is second in the Magnolia State with 20.7 points each outing. Carnita Hammond follows her with 10.4 points for the Lady Tigers (4-17, 2-8).
Aja Williams of the Lady Bulldogs (15-6, 6-4) follows Gilliam closely and is third in the conference with 19.8 points per matchup. Holmes relies on its defense and is holding opponents to just 50.1 points overall in a game.