Lady Wolves boot Meridian, move into semifinals

Published 8:00 pm Friday, March 8, 2013

CLINTON – The Co-Lin Lady Wolves took advantage of Meridian Community College’s cold shooting second half to take a 62-52 win in the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 23 Tournament hosted by Mississippi College. The Lady Wolves (24-3) will face the Itawamba Lady Indians (17-9) in the semifinal round tonight at 8. The Lady Indians defeated the Northwest Lady Rangers 70-51.

In the other bracket, Mississippi Gulf Coast defeated MACJC state runners-up Northeast 68-60 in overtime and Baton Rouge defeated Jones County 72-52. Gulf Coast will play Baton Rouge at 6 p.m.

In the men’s bracket semifinals, East Mississippi plays Baton Rouge at 12:30 p.m. and state champion Pearl River faces Northwest at 2:30 in MCs A.E. Wood Coliseum.

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Championship finals are Saturday at 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men. Saturday’s winners advance to the NJCAA National Tournaments in Kansas, women at Salina and men at Hutchinson.

Coach Gwyn Young’s Lady Wolves have won the two previous meetings with the Lady Indians. The most recent was Feb. 27, in the MACJC State semifinals, which the Lady Wolves won 61-60. The teams also met on Jan. 10 in Wesson with the Lady Wolves coming out on top 62-48.

Meridian (20-11), the Miss-Lou Conference runner-up, jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. But the Lady Wolves found their rhythm and they led by as many as 9 points, 28-19 in the half. A basket by Ashtin McNichols would cap a 6-0 run by the Lady Eagles as they closed the deficit to 28-25 at halftime.

Sophomore center LaVasha Allen scored the first 9 points for the Lady Wolves in the second half as Co-Lin increased their lead to 37-31 with 17:02 remaining in the game.

Reyada Stinner’s trey at the 16:24 mark pulled the Lady Eagles within 37-36. But Meridian would go the next 8:04 without a basket as the Lady Wolves took a 52-36 lead.

A basket by Gelese Lampton with 1:08 remaining would pulled the Lady Eagles to 58-49, but that would be as close as they would get.

The Lady Wolves shot 37 percent (23-of-63) from the field while the Lady Eagles shot 29 percent (17-of-59). Co-Lin outrebounded Meridian 49-39. The Lady Wolves. bench continued to come up big as they outscored the Lady Eagles 16-3.

Allen led the Lady Wolves with 13 points. Chanta Poole chipped in 10 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and made 6 steals. Freshman Ashley Minor came off the bench to score 10 points and dish out 4 assists. Vintrice Briggs led off the backboards with 9 rebounds.

McNichols scored a game-high 20 points for Meridian. Lampton added 12 points. Kristen Sampson pulled down 9 rebounds to lead the Lady Eagles.

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