Southwest Bears remain in contention for state tourney

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

WESSON – The Southwest Community College Bears remained incontention for a berth in the state tournament by defeating theCo-Lin Wolves 64-56 Monday night in Mullen Gymnasium. The Bears(11-13, 7-6) got 17 points from guard B.J. Griffith.

Co-Lin (10-14, 4-9), was unable to muster a strong performanceas the Wolves played their last home game of the season. Theystruggled offensively, getting 13 points from Jason Scott, 12 fromElliott Cowart and 10 from Jeremie Collier.

“Everything was bad the first half but we were still incontention because our opponent didn’t play that well,” said Co-Linmen’s coach Dennis Sims. “We could have been down 25 or 30(points).

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“When you don’t give an effort, you’re not supposed to win.”

Southwest coach Bill Wallace received hugs and congratulationsfrom his parents after the game. For Wallace, it was the first timefor him to sweep Co-Lin in his five years at the Southwesthelm.

“We guarded Co-Lin really well,” said Wallace. “Our defense wasgood. Our ball reversal on offense was the key.”

Wallace said the Bears were on the state tournament bubble,deadlocked with three teams behind No. 1 seed Pearl River. “We needto beat Meridian Thursday night,” at Southwest in Summit.

Nic Gamble, Southwest’s 6-foot-7 freshman center, had his lefthand heavily wrapped with bandages last night. Gamble broke hisleft index finger Jan. 23, when Southwest hosted Co-Lin and won alast-second thriller.

“Nic has extremely long fingers,” said Wallace. “He has a 7-footwingspan,” from finger tip to finger tip. Having Nic with one handis better than not having him out there.”

Gamble, from Dexter, was limited to 4 points and 4 rebounds buthis presence in the paint helped overpower Co-Lin’s post game.Co-Lin got a total of 12 points from 3 post players.

James Hathorn, a 6-4 sophomore forward from Brookhaven, ledCo-Lin on the backboards with 9 rebounds.

Guard Willie Depron, the hero of Southwest’s last-second 71-68win over Co-Lin Jan. 23, finished with 11 points. Freshman TobyColeman of Mt. Hermon, La., pumped in 10 points.

The Bears roared to a 38-24 halftime lead as Griffith andColeman both hit 2 treys in the opening 20 minutes of action.Co-Lin reduced its deficit to 5 points, 56-51, with 4:35 left toplay on a jumper by Cowart but could come no closer.

Co-Lin missed a layup and a dunk while the Bears got a freethrow and a short jumper from 6-5 freshman guard Marcus Elliott ofFort Walton Beach, Fla.