Special to the Journal
In 2013, the Northeast Lady Tigers basketball team won their way into the MACJC state championship game after losing their leading scorer, Kay K. Tate, to a knee injury before Christmas.
Irony can be cruel, while at the same time providing a challenge.
A week before the start of the 2013-14 season, Tate was sidelined with a knee injury, again. Then on Dec. 5, leading scorer Angelia Allen from Belmont was sidelined for the season with a knee injury.
But the schedule plays no favorites, and Lady Tigers are ready for the 2014 portion of their North Division slate to begin, starting today with a 5:30 p.m. tip at East Mississippi.
“Our best two players are out with knee injuries, but our kids have hung in there,” Lady Tigers head coach Brian Alexander said. “Even with the injuries, I’m excited to begin this phase of the season.
“I’ve just got to put the players in the right position, and let the players make plays.”
Northeast (5-8, 0-2) has seen several players step up in the void because of others medical conditions, including sophomores Antionette Riddle from Tupelo and Kiki Gwyn from Kossuth; and freshmen Teresa Mays, Aushiana Ivy from Shannon, Jasmine Allen from Booneville, and Daisha Williams from Columbus. Riddle leads the team in scoring (13.0) and rebounding (8.8). Ivy averages 12.5 points per game.
“Our biggest challenge is to see if we can get the ball off the defensive backboards,” said Alexander, whose player rotation now features a majority of guards by necessity. “All the games are big now.”
Northeast will host its first home North game of 2014 Monday against Coahoma, with other key contests on the schedule including a Jan. 30 road game at rival Itawamba.
Northeast will end its regular season Feb. 20 at Mississippi Delta.
The Tigers (3-10, 0-2) face a bit of a struggle as well, but still have plenty of time to work on their North record.
The Northeast men are led in scoring by freshmen Dimario Jackson (13.6) and Marcus Hogan at (10.0).