By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – Defending your home court is important in any basketball league.
The Itawamba Indians and Lady Indians get their chance to do that today as they host their closest neighbor, Northeast Mississippi Community College, in a key North Division matchup. Action tips off at 6 p.m. with the women’s game, followed at 8 p.m. by the men at ICC’s Davis Event Center.
“This is the most talented team I think David Robbins has had at Northeast since he’s been there,” said Indians coach Marty Cooper. “They’re starting to put it together at this point in the season, just like it seems we are.”
The Indians (6-6, 1-1) began this season 2-6 with seven road games. Now the Indians have won four in a row, including a key division win over Northwest on the road Thursday.
Cooper said he feels sophomores Melvin Morgan, Wendell Williams, Todd Nelson and Akeem Caddell have shown good balance and leadership in the Indians recent run. Nelson leads ICC at 16 points per game, with the other three right around 10 ppg.
Northeast (7-8, 2-1) counters with Robert Wade averaging 19 ppg, with Iuka’s Tyler Pritchard third on the team at 14 ppg. The Tigers defeated Coahoma Thursday.
The Lady Indians (9-3, 2-0) come off a nice road victory over Northwest as well, and coach Nanci Gray takes a very business-like approach to perhaps a rivalry type atmosphere.
“For us and the kids, this is the next game on the schedule,” said Gray, whose Lady Indians have the early lead in the division. “Being 2-0 is a good thing, but the division is still up for grabs, and we’re going to work hard toward winning it.”
Like the ICC men, Gray is very complementary about the leadership from her sophomore players – Anna Dill from Fulton, Ebony Williams from Calhoun City, Mandy Collins from Tupelo, and Vetorra Cole.
But Gray was quick to point out freshmen Jameika Hoskins from Aberdeen and LaPrecious Naylon getting up to speed at the college level.
The Lady Tigers (7-6, 2-1) are led by Belmont’s Anna Brooke Page with 17 ppg.
Northeast will host ICC on Thursday, Feb. 10.