By D.E. Wheeler/Special to the Journal
It might be tough to fathom, but time for celebrating a state championship is over for the Itawamba Community College Lady Indians.
That’s because the Lady Indians are simply one of eight women’s teams tipping off today in quarterfinal action at the Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College.
“You can always celebrate winning state the night of the game,” said ICC head coach Nanci Gray, whose team plays Coahoma at 6 p.m. today. “But when you go into a new tournament, it doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished.”
What ICC (24-2) accomplished last week was the MACJC state title, the program’s first since 2008. The Lady Indians are also undefeated against Mississippi schools this season, including two wins over Coahoma in North Division play.
No time to releax
“Our effort and our attitude was good last week, and we did a good job on defense,” Gray said. “I think that’s why we have 24 wins, because of our defensive effort.
“We have film on Coahoma, and we have time to prepare. We can not become complacent because we’ve played them twice.”
LaPrecious Naylon from Alabama leads Itawamba in scoring at 15.3 points per game, with Jameika Hoskins from Aberdeen at 15.0 ppg, and Vechatita Bonner from Waynesboro at 13.8 ppg. Before Christmas, ICC defeated Coahoma 69-59; and then Feb. 2, the Lady Indians won 85-63.
Semifinal action of the tournament for the women is Friday, with ICC potentially in the 3 p.m. game against the winner of Holmes and Pearl River. The championship game is Saturday at 6 p.m.
The winner of the region tournament qualifies for the national tournament in Salina, Kansas, beginning March 19.
“Our goal right now is to win the Region 23 championship,” said Gray, named the 2012 MACJC Coach of the Year earlier this week. “If we have an off night, any one of these teams could beat us.
“All we’re focused on right now is Coahoma, and we’re not anticipating anything but the next game.”