By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
As the Region XXIII Tournament progressed in Clinton last week, David Robbins and Brian Alexander forged ahead.
The Northeast Community College Tigers and Lady Tigers basketball teams, and their respective coaches, did not qualify for that step in the post-season.
But both are working toward correcting that, while reflecting on how each squad barely missed the tournament.
“I’m not over it yet,” said Robbins on missing last week’s tournament. “It’s disappointing when you think you have the material to be there.
“We didn’t finish the season the way we would have liked. Offensively, we were sufficient, but we broke down on defense too many times.”
The Tigers finished the season at 14-9, but lost their last four North Division games. That tied them for fourth with Itawamba, losing a tie-breaker, and also missing the MACJC State Tournament.
Robbins is looking to bring in around eight players to help fill out his roster for 2012-13, matching these newcomers with returning players like Acie Vance (16.8 points per game) from Ripley and Tadarious Coburn (10.0 ppg) from New Albany.
The Lady Tigers did qualify for the State Tournament, finishing No. 4 in the North and with a 9-15 overall mark. But with a loss in the quarterfinals of the State Tournament, that still was not good enough for region play.
“You want to be there, but for me, it’s been helpful not being there this week,” said Alexander last week, who was in his first season as the Lady Tigers head coach. “I’ve traveled 2,300 miles in the last seven days recruiting, but I’d rather be there.
“With four starters out with injuries, I think we still had a successful season.”
One of the bright sports for the Lady Tigers this season was sophomore Anna Brooke Page (17.5 ppg), who led the state in scoring, but is one of the holes Alexander is trying to fill. Alexander does like returning players India Howard from Ripley and Krystal Jackson from New Site, who was injured in the first game of the season.
“We need a little bit of everything,” said Alexander, who expects to bring in 10 signees.
The signing date for junior colleges is April 8.