ICC hosts juco state tournament

basketball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

The 2014 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges State Tournament tips off today in Fulton.

And the Itawamba Community College basketball teams hope they are in position to take advantage of their home court.

Play begins today in the men’s bracket of the tournament, with the Itawamba Indians slated for a 6 p.m. start time against Southwest.

“Playing at home is always a plus,” Indians head coach Grant Pate said. “Pearl River is an extremely talented team with four Division I transfers.

“We’ve played some really talented teams this season, and hopefully we’re prepared for what we’re up against.”

Itawamba (14-9) comes in to the week as the No. 1 seed from the North Division, and is fresh off a 73-61 victory last week over Mississippi Delta. Sophomore Alex Anderson leads ICC in scoring at 16.3 points per game

“Alex Anderson, Johnathan McGee, and Tory Rice are our sophomore leaders,” Pate said. “And we have a strong supporting cast.

“A lot will depend on our defense and our rebounding, which is a staple of our team. We’ve been fairly consistent throughout the year.”

Men’s play begins today with Jones-Coahoma at 1 p.m., East Mississippi-Pearl River at 3 p.m., and Gulf Coast-Northwest at 8 p.m.

First round play in the women’s bracket begins Tuesday, with the Lady Indians coming in as the North No. 2 seed. Itawamba will face Pearl River at 8 p.m.

‘Everybody is good’

“Talent-wise, we match up with everybody in the tournament, and everybody is good now,” Lady Indians head coach Nanci Gray said. “I think we’ve really matured a lot over the season.”

Itawamba freshman Jayla Chills, from Ripley, leads the team in scoring at 12.2 per game.

Other action Tuesday has Meridian-Delta at 1 p.m., East Mississippi-Southwest at 3 p.m., and Jones-Northwest at 6 p.m.

Semifinal play for both men and women is Wednesday, with the championship games Thursday.