Northeast sweeps Meridian in non-division play

Northeast Mississippi Community College’s men and women’s basketball teams capped their portion of the non-division slate with a sweep over Meridian Community College on Saturday, January 8 at Bonner Arnold Coliseum in Booneville.
Ricky Ford’s Lady Tigers escaped with an 82-79 win over the Lady Eagles while David Robbins’ Tigers dispatched the Eagles in the nightcap 100-77.
In the opener, the Lady Tigers (6-6) ran out to an 18-point lead only to see the Lady Eagles (12-3) steadily chip away at the lead and force a tie at 79-all late in the contest.
Chasity Kearney, who led all scorers with 22 points, knotted the game at 79-79 with under a minute remaining in the contest.
Patra Hubbard made sure the Lady Tigers finished their non-division slate with a win as the Northeast freshman calmly swished a pair of freebies and Tiffany Martin gave Northeast its final tally when the Northeast guard connected on the front end of a two-shot foul putting the host up 82-79.
“It was good to get a win,” Hubbard said. “We got beat blocking out and that’s what allowed them back in the contest. We got beat down there so it was good to beat them here.”
In the early going, Northeast rebounded from a three-point deficit with a 14-4 run in taking a 14-7 lead over Meridian behind the hot hands of Amber Johnson and Anna Brooke Page.
Northeast continued to  put the pressure on the Lady Eagles pushing its first half lead out to 16 twice as Page gave the Lady Tigers a 35-19 cushion and Suriah Blanch tallied a deuce for a 37-21 game.
Meridian rallied back to close to eight at the break as Norianna Haynes swished home a jumper for a 39-31 game at intermission.
Meridian kept the momentum coming of the break and chipped away at the Lady Tiger lead bringing the game to a two-possession affair as Haynes connected on a bucket for a 45-41 deficit.
Northeast responded and ran off a 17-3 run that put the Lady Tigers up 62-44 as Hillary Miller knocked home a bucket. Johnson led the way with three straight scores during the run.
Meridian hit with a run of its own slicing the Northeast advantage down until Kearney connected on her bucket that tied that game at 79-all.
In the nightcap, David Robbins’ Tigers made sure there would be no comeback as the Tigers jumped out to a 19-point halftime advantage and never looked back.
Jermaine Hollimon led the way in the first half for the Tigers with 22 points. The freshman from Melrose High School in Memphis finished the night with 32 points on a 9-for-12 performance from behind the arc.
However, in the early going, Meridian (10-5) held its own with Northeast and after Nick Watkins connected on the first of a two-shot foul the Eagles had battled back to tie the contest at 16-all.
Northeast (5-8) answered the Meridian challenge with a 16-3 run that gave the Tigers the lead for good.
Hollimon led the charge for the Tigers with eight points during the run including a pair of trifectas while Tyler Pritchard hit for six during the spurt with a pair of three-pointers of his own.
“The whole team did what they were supposed to do,” Hollimon said. “We fell through on defense a few times but the offense pulled together and we were able to get win.”
Northeast pushed its first half lead to 20 as Cedric Janes connected on a garbage bucket following a Pritchard miss for a 55-35 cushion.
Although leading 59-40 at the half, Northeast did not let up on the pressure and allowed Meridian to pull to within 82-66 on a Pierre Crawford deuce – but that was as close at the Eagles would good.
Northeast broke the century mark when Josey Pettigrew knocked home two freebies with under a minute remaining.
“It felt really good to get in and make a contribution to the team,” Pettigrew said. “It just shows that all the hard work in practice is paying off.”
Northeast freshman Robert Wade finished the game with a 26-point, 18-rebound performance for the Tigers. Wade pulled down 13 defensive rebounds for Northeast and was 12-of-21 from the floor.
Northeast has announced that its North Division game on Monday, January 10 against East Mississippi Community College has been rescheduled for Saturday, January 22.
Northeast rescheduled the contest due to the threat of inclement weather as projected by the National Weather Service.
As 5 p.m. Saturday, January 8, the National Weather Service was forecasting snow accumulations of 4-8 inches on Sunday night and snow likely on Monday, January 10.
Northeast will now open the 2011 portion of its North Division schedule on Thursday, January 13 in Clarksdale against Coahoma Community College. Tip for those contests is set for 6 and 8 p.m.
“We need to take our game to the next level in division,” Hollimon said. “We have to do what we need to do to get another win under our belts.”
Northeast’s next home game will be against Mississippi Delta on Thursday, January 20 at Bonner Arnold Coliseum. Tipoff for those North Division contests is set for 5 and 7 p.m.