By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
Northeast Lady Tigers head coach Brian Alexander calls this an injury plagued year for his team.
And yet, here are the Lady Tigers tied for first place in the North Division, and hosting the defending state champion Itawamba Lady Indians today in a 5:30 p.m. start time, the other first place team.
“This game will be a measuring stick for us,” Alexander said. “Itawamba is established, and we’re looking at this game as a first step for us.
“We want to get in a position to compete, and this game will tell us where we are. We are very excited to be in a first-place game.”
The Lady Tigers (9-6, 5-1) dropped the first meeting between the two schools on Nov. 29 by an 80-55 margin.
“It was a one-point game at the half,” Alexander said. “ICC is a tremendously talented team, and I thought we defended them well.
“We did not respond well when we came out for the second half.”
Part of Northeast’s lack of response was from the first half injury to then-leading scorer Kay K. Tate. But players like Angelia Allen from Belmont, Talisa Boyd, LaTonya Gadison, and Antoinette Riddle of Tupelo have responded.
And Northeast has picked up a boost with the return of Kebrina Lucas from New Albany from a hand injury.
The Lady Tigers have a four-game winning streak this month.
ICC:eye on playoffs
For Lady Indians (11-6, 5-1) head coach Nanci Gray, this time of year is all about playoff positioning, rivalry notwithstanding.
“It’s about doing what is needed to get in the playoffs,” Gray said. “We want to be first or second if we can.
“Still, it’s a big game for us, a fun game. But we sell it as a division game.”
Ty-Nita Baker of Houston paced ICC in the first meeting with Northeast, hitting 21 points, while LaTonya Collins added a clutch 17.
“It was hard to get the lead early in that game, and after the half, we were able to take control,” Gray said. “They lost a player in that game, but they’ve adjusted nicely.”