Co-Lin teams wind to Nationals

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SALINA, Kan. – As usual, the wind was blowing across thepancake-flat landscape of the Sunflower State. That’s what greetedthe Copiah-Lincoln Community College team bus when it pulled intothe parking lot Sunday night as the weary travelers shuffled towardtheir respective rooms at the Holiday Inn Express.

It had been a long day for the Co-Lin Lady Wolves basketballteam and their support group. The bus had left the Wesson campusbefore the sun rose in the eastern sky Sunday morning. At 11:15p.m., the 897-mile journey was completed. Bus drivers James Halland Wayne Brown had delivered their valuable cargo in goodcondition.

Due to construction work on the interstate highway just north ofDallas, the trip had lasted an hour longer due to the bottlenecktraffic jam. According to Hall, the bus had consumed 95 gallons ofdiesel fuel, about half the tank’s capacity, during thejourney.

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The terrain began changing as the bus entered Oklahoma. Riderssaw a buffalo ranch just north of Stillwater, complete with 100head of the hairy bison grazing on spring-grown green grass. Alittle farther south, a large horse ranch, named The StallionStation, lived up to its title. Each male horse was tethered to aseparate feeding station in a large pasture, complete with a smallaluminum shed that provided protection from the weather.

When the busy highway cut through a cliff of rocks just north ofArdmore, redbud trees provided a distinct contrast, somehow sinkingroots between the broken rocks and giving us a preview of spring inthe Sooner State.

Lady Wolves represent Region 23

Of course, basketball, the NJCAA National Women’s Tournament isthe main order of business for Coach Gwyn Young and his LadyWolves. Fresh from winning the Region 23 Tournament two weeks ago,they are representing the states of Mississippi and Louisiana inthe week-long, 16-team, double-elimination national tournament.

This is Co-Lin’s first trip to the nationals since 2002. ForYoung, it is the fifth time for him to bring a team to thenationals. This is his 30th year at the helm of Co-Lin’s basketballprogram and his success level is the envy of many a junior collegecoach.

This year the Lady Wolves are 28-3 and ranked No. 9 in thenation. Young has compiled an overall record of 671 wins and 205losses, all at Co-Lin. As a Co-Lin grad himself, Young starred forthe Wolves and then the Mississippi College Choctaws beforelaunching his coaching career, first as an assistant atBrookhaven.

This is a new experience for the Lady Wolves and they areenjoying their appearance. The team roster includes sophomoresNikki Williams of White Castle, La., Erica Trahan of Baton Rouge,La., Hanna Porter of Brandon, Ronessa Garner of Jayess, WhitneyScott of Hahnville, La., and Corissa Tillman and DominiqueWhitfield of Crystal Springs.

Co-Lin’s freshmen are Alisha Mason of Ruth (Enterprise), TyeshaWilliams of Crystal Springs, Jalissa Sandifer of Hazlehurst,Shalenia Wilcher of McCall Creek, and Kristin Ellis ofVicksburg.

Alicia Kennedy, a sophomore reserve guard from Smithdale (WestLincoln), decided not to make the trip and quit the teamSaturday.

Death, illness hit Co-Lin family

This column’s condolences go to Co-Lin head baseball coach KeithCase and his family. His mother, Maxie Case, passed away lastFriday and was buried Monday. She had suffered a stroke lastweek.

Coach Case has a deep faith in God. He knows his mother iswalking with Jesus in Heaven today. Our thoughts and prayers arewith him and his family.

Coach Young’s father, L.G. Young, under went kidney surgery lastFriday at University Medical Center in Jackson. A mass had beendiscovered on his kidney and it was removed.

Mr. Young, 81, a devoted Co-Lin fan would have been in Salinafor the tournament. We wish him a fast and strong recovery.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o. The DAILY LEADER,P.O. BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or