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Wolves, Lady Bears survive offensive thrillers

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Co-Lin's Eric Smith (33) drives to the goal as Southwest's defender Jamal Hester (35) applies pressure Monday night at Mullen Gymnasium.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Co-Lin’s Eric Smith (33) drives to the goal as Southwest’s defender Jamal Hester (35) applies pressure Monday night at Mullen Gymnasium.

WESSON – The Co-Lin Wolves and Lady Wolves renewed their heated rivalry with their archrivals Southwest Bears and Lady Bears Monday night as the Wolves and Lady Bears captured a split in South Division JUCO action at Mullen Gymnasium.

In the women’s contest, the Lady Bears managed to escape with a 75-72 victory over the Lady Wolves.

In men’s action, the Wolves won an offensive thriller 110-102 against Southwest.

Co-Lin returns to action Thursday as they prepare to travel to Meridian to take on the Meridian Lions for another big division test. The women will tip off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30.

Southwest resumes action Thursday at home. They will host the Pearl River Wildcats for a south divisional contest. The women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s contest at 7:30.

Southwest 75, Co-Lin 72 

The Lady Bears and Lady Wolves provided an exciting game to opening basketball action as both teams battled hard offensively and defensively.

In the first half, Southwest came out strong and managed to gain control of the contest early by capturing and maintaining a 15-point advantage over the Lady Wolves for most of the first half.

The Lady Wolves rallied to trim into Southwest’s lead late in the first half as the Lady Bears took an 36-26 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the excitement continued as the basketball fans continued to come in to fill up Mullen gymnasium. The Lady Wolves and Lady Bears provided a great show on offense and defense as both teams fought back and forth.

Southwest (11-1, 3-0) struggled offensively throughout the second half, as Co-Lin applied pressure defensively and managed to outscore the Lady Bears 46-39, but Southwest managed to hold off the Lady Wolves (7-5, 0-3) attack to escape with the victory and extend their winning streak to 11-games.

Claresa Banks was the offensive leader for the Lady Wolves with 18 points, Ashely Minor contributed 16 points. Keyana Miller chipped in 12 points and Tyra Gibson had 10 points. Jessica Wilson paced the Lady Wolves on the boards with seven rebounds.

“In the first half, our execution was not good,” said Co-Lin coach Gwyn Young. “We did not work the ball around to create an open shot. In the second half, we played a lot better, but we made some crucial mistakes that spoiled our chances to make a comeback, which hurt us at the end.

“Southwest has a very good basketball team,” stated Young. “They did a great job executing their offense and they were tough on defense. We just got beat by a good team. Hopefully, our girls will learn from this and regroup to play better by Thursday.”

The Lady Bears had three players to score in double figures. Katrina Littlepage directed Southwest’s charge with 26 points. April Levy pumped in 20 points and Courtney Epting added 11 points.

Co-Lin 110, Southwest 102 

The Wolves and Bears provided an offensive thriller in front of a packed house in two-and-a half hour marathon contest.

Co-Lin was on fire to start the first half as they torch the nylon nets on the basketball goal with array of three pointers throughout the first 10-minutes of action. Southwest did a great job staying in the contest as they continued to stick around through Co-Lin’s strong offensive output as the Wolves commanded a 54-40 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the offensive fireworks and the tough, heated defensive battles continued to heat up as both teams fought hard in a back-and-forth contest.

Southwest (6-6, 0-3) made a huge run to begin the second half and managed to trim Co-Lin’s lead down to five points, but the Wolves regained their composure and answered the challenge and increased their game to 18 points with 7 minutes left to play.

The heated rivalry continued to get more physical as both teams continued to light-up the scoreboard offensively. With a little over three minutes left to go in the game, the tempo started to slow rapidly as Co-Lin and Southwest made frequent trips to the free-throw line.

In the closing seconds, the Wolves (5-7, 1-2) managed to defend off Southwest’s late surge to secure the victory and captured their first south division win.

The Wolves had five players to score in double figures in this high scoring affair as Chris Steverson lead the charge with 22 points and seven rebounds. LaJustin Anderson fueled the flames with 20 points. Eric Smith contributed a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Vardaman added 13 points and Ricky Kelly had 11 points.

“We are starting to play as a team,” said Co-Lin coach Kenny Bizot. “The guys played a great game against a very good Southwest ball club. We did a great job controlling the boards and making free throws in crucial moments at the end of the game. Overall, I was very pleased with the guys’ effort.”

Tymond Howard was the top scorer for the Bears with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Jones provided 21 points. Jaylen Moore netted 18 points and Deione Weeks had 15 points.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Co-Lin's Jessica Wilson (15) powers in for a layup against Southwest's defender Raven Reves (42) Monday night.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Co-Lin’s Jessica Wilson (15) powers in for a layup against Southwest’s defender Raven Reves (42) Monday night.