By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – The Itawamba Community College Lady Indians basketball team has steadily been grinding out the wins all season.
That grind continues at home this week, only with higher stakes.
Having posted a perfect record in North Division play, the Lady Indians earned the right to host the MACJC State Tournament at the Davis Event Center, beginning today.
“They’ve been a focused group of girls all season,” Itawamba head coach Nanci Gray said. “But it’s not a very good season if all they wanted to do was win the North.
“We want to work our way through the state tournament, and then the region tournament the next week.”
Play begins today with men’s quarterfinal action, with four games on tap.
Though Itawamba and Northeast tied with 5-7 marks in the North, ICC earned the fourth and final spot in the tournament, and will play at 6 p.m. today against South No. 1 Gulf Coast.
On Tuesday is the women’s quarters, with the Northeast Lady Tigers matching up against Co-Lin at 1 p.m., and the Lady Indians (21-2, 12-0) against East Central at 6 p.m.
“We beat East Central twice before Christmas,” Gray said. “But they had a guard gain her eligibility, and they’re a different team now.
“Our sophomores have to maintain what they’ve been doing for us to be successful.”
The four semifinal games for both brackets will be Wednesday, with championship games Thursday.
Northeast No. 4
Gaining the No. 4 seed from the North was done in the regular-season finale Monday by the Northeast women.
In double-overtime, the Lady Tigers (9-14) edged Mississippi Delta 104-102 to gain their port-season berth for this week.
“We knew going into that game what we had to do, and obviously, we’re very excited,” Northeast head coach Brian Alexander said. “Every coach has nightmares about an injury-plagued season, and at one point in our season we had four starters out.
“Co-Lin is a balanced team, and can hit you from several different places. But perhaps the difference in this year’s state tournament is that everyone is really balanced, and we have a chance.”