(PHOTO: Dall Coleman -photo by Rob Williams)
By ROB WILLIAMS
Coach Marty Cooper and his Indians added a page to the history of the storied rivalry between ICC and Northeast. With ICC scheduled to move into the new facility for basketball next season, the Indians defeated the Tigers in the last game between the two teams in the ICC gym.
“The last game between these two great rivals in the Rubberdome, and we won it,” Coach Copper said. “In 20 years, people won’t remember what an ugly win it was.”
The Indians jumped out to a big lead in the first half, only to see the Tigers get back into the game with a 10-point run. ICC led as much as 15 points before the Tigers fought back to come within a bucket, 33-31, with 1:18 left until intermission.
Tim Green got inside for a layup, and Dall Coleman hit a turnaround to get the Indians back up by seven, but the Tigers hit the last shots of the half to cut into the lead again.
Titus Penro hit one-of-two from the line in the closing seconds to keep the Indians in front, 39-35, at the half.
With ICC clinging to a 44-42 lead in the second half, Larricus Brown hit a three to stretch the lead back to five points. The Tigers came clawing back and tied the game, 50-50, midway through the period.
Coleman broke the tie with a layup, but the Tigers came back with a three to move back in front.
Justin Duke, who was second in the nation in three-point shooting got the Indians started on their final run to victory with a baseline jumper to put them up five with 7:50 left in the game.
With Coleman and Green finding open shots under the baskets, the Indians began easing ahead. With 1:20 remaining, the Indians were up by six, 69-63, but a steal and a layup by the Tigers cut it back to two. Brown hit two free throws in the last 20 seconds to stretch the Indians’ lead to six points.
Coleman was the leading scorer in the game with 23 points for ICC and Green added 15.
“It was ugly, but it was a win,” Cooper said. “At this point in the season, we’ll take them any way we can get them. We only had 11 turnovers, but what hurt us was the mental mistakes.
“I’m glad we have week off to get over the excitement of beating our big rival. Now we just need to take care of business and concentrate on winning our next two games. If we can go on the road and beat Delta next Monday and then come home to beat East Miss. next Thursday, we should be in good shape for the playoffs.”
**Lady Indians almost win**
In first game of the night, the Lady Tigers appeared to be on their way to a run away win, but the Lady Indians came charging back late and almost pull out a win.
Northeast ran up a 17-point lead in the first half, but the Lady Indians cut it back to 11 late in the period. Kim Stanfield’s three-pointer in the closing seconds got the Lady Indians to within 10, but the Lady Tigers hit a basket at the buzzer to take a 44-32 margin at halftime.
The Lady Tigers stretched their lead to 18 points, 58-40, again early in the second half before the Lady Indians took control of the game.
Latanya Williams’ hustling play to get ahead of the defense for a layup pulled the Lady Indians to within 12, 60-48 with 11:23 left in the game. The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes, and the Lady Tigers were still up by 13 with less than seven minutes to play.
At the 6:25 mark, the Lady Indians began their final run. Kim Stanfield came up with a steal and hit Shameika Boyce for a breakaway layup and suddenly the margin was 11. Seconds later, Boyce’s three pulled the Lady Indians to within 10.
A basket and a free throw by Williams with 3:37 remaining had the Lady Indians to within nine. After the Lady Tigers scored, Boyce nailed a three to cut the margin to eight. The Lady Indians came up with another steal and hit Williams with a long pass to the ICC end of the court.
Williams got around a pair of Northeast defenders to get ICC to within five, 81-76, with :55 left in the game. Three seconds later, Jenci Long hit a pair of free throws to get it down to three, and Boyce hit a three with :20 left to tie the game, 81-81.
With :15.5 the Lady Indians made a mental mistake that put their chance of winning in jeopardy when Boyce was whistled for an intentional foul near half court.
With the Lady Indians trailing, 83-81, Williams missed both free throws, and the Lady Tigers pulled down the rebound. They quickly got the ball to the other end of the floor, and the Lady Indians had to foul to try to get the ball back with time still left on the clock.
With :02.2 remaining, the Lady Tigers hit the first free throw, and the Lady Indians’ desperation shot fell short, giving Northeast the 84-81 victory.
“If we had played at all in the first half, we would have won this one,” Coach Carrie Ball said. “We didn’t have one bit of confidence in the first half, and that got us into trouble. At halftime, I told the girls what we had to do, and they came out and did it in the second half.
“The other key to the game was that we didn’t have anybody who could stop Jessica Hooker. She ruled the inside, and we couldn’t stop her.”
Hooker led all scorers in the game with 35 points and 12 rebounds.
Stanfield led ICC with 21 points, and Boyce was next with 18. Williams had 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the Lady Indians.