Lady Indians’ defense opens door to victory

By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – It would be tempting to think the Itawamba Community College Lady Indians were thinking of revenge Thursday against the Meridian Lady Eagles.
After all, Meridian ended ICC’s 2012 season in Region 23 play.
Not really.
Totally different rosters, and a totally different result as the Lady Indians used good guard play to power past the Lady Eagles 83-65.
“This was a different look for Meridian, they’re so small,” Itawamba head coach Nanci Gray said. “We played good defense early, and Ty-Nita Baker and Ayanna Lynn had big point games for us.”
The Lady Indians (4-1) were ripping on all cylinders early, with an Ashley Wiley 3-pointer giving the home team a 33-13 lead. Itawamba maintained a solid margin into the second half, finally icing the contest with an 18-2 run that saw three baskets by Lynn to boost the ICC margin to 71-47.
Baker, from Houston, and Lynn each contributed 23 points.
(M) Itawamba 88, Meridian 61: In the nightcap, the Indians also used strong guard play in their victory, but also got a nice nudge from their bench.
First-year coach Grant Pate sent in a new five just a couple of minutes into the contest. That unit responded, led by six points from Chris Harris, to lead ICC to an 18-11 lead.
The Indians (3-2) then used an 8-0 run later in the first half to bump its margin up to 44-26, with Johnathan McGee scoring five in the burst.
“The guys coming off the bench gave us some energy,” Pate said. “From the top, our guys did pressure the ball well.
“We’re improving each game.”
In the second half, Meridian briefly made noise, cutting the margin from 62-38 to 62-46. But that was as loud it got, with ICC able to play with the lead successfully.
McGee paced ICC with 18 points.