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Lady Wolves return plenty of experience

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Members of the 2014-2015 Copiah-Lincoln Lady Wolves Basketball Team are (front row, from left) Katelyn Roberts (Manager), Kentija Tarleton, Jamilah Sanders, Arnissayur Robinson, Tyra Gibson, Tenazhia Hinkeson, Alexis Collins, Patrice Banks (Manager), and Jessica Montgomery (Student Trainer); (back row) Head Coach Gwyn Young, Claresa Banks, Caroline Lumpkin, Kybri Keyes, Kristal Flowers, Toni Woods, Kelley Allen, Maleah Isaac, Athletic Trainer Matt McClain, Assistant Coach Nikki Williams.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Members of the 2014-2015 Copiah-Lincoln Lady Wolves Basketball Team are (front row, from left) Katelyn Roberts (Manager), Kentija Tarleton, Jamilah Sanders, Arnissayur Robinson, Tyra Gibson, Tenazhia Hinkeson, Alexis Collins, Patrice Banks (Manager), and Jessica Montgomery (Student Trainer); (back row) Head Coach Gwyn Young, Claresa Banks, Caroline Lumpkin, Kybri Keyes, Kristal Flowers, Toni Woods, Kelley Allen, Maleah Isaac, Athletic Trainer Matt McClain, Assistant Coach Nikki Williams.

WESSON – Last season, for the first time since 2004-2005, the Copiah-Lincoln Lady Wolves basketball team failed to qualify for the MACJC State Tournament. The Lady Wolves closed the season going 9-1 in their final 10 division games, but could not overcome a 0-4 start in division play. Coach Gwyn Young and the Lady Wolves did qualify for the NJCAA Region 23 tournament, where they defeated the No. 1 seed Jones Lady Bobcats, before being beaten by Baton Rouge in the semifinals. Co-Lin finished with a 17-8 record and preserved a streak of consecutive winning seasons that dates back to 1981.

Co-Lin not only returns five players off of the 2013-2014 team, they return one of the best guards in the state and the nation in sophomore Claresa Banks. Banks, a product of Forest Hill High School, led the team in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks as a freshman. Tyra Gibson, who was the first guard substitute off the bench as a freshman, also returns. Kentija Tarleton, a Port Gibson High graduate, returns after playing in 16 games as a freshman.

Co-Lin returns two forwards, Caroline Lumpkin and Maleah Isaac, from the 2013-2014 team. Lumpkin, when not injured, started every game at the power forward position and averaged 4.9 and 3.2 rebounds per game. Isaac averaged 3.2 points per game off of the bench.

The Lady Wolves will also be bolstered by two sophomore transfers, Arnissayur Robinson and Toni Woods. Robinson prepped at Raymond High before playing for the University of Mobile as a freshman. Woods, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, played at Angelina College (Texas) in 2013-2014.

Freshmen members of the team include Kelley Allen (Puckett), Alexis Collins (Forest Hill), Kristal Flowers (Collins), Tenazhia Hinkeson (Pearl), Kybri Keyes (Puckett), and Jamilah Sanders (Canton).

Former Lady Wolves All-American Nikki Williams returns for her third season on the bench as the assistant coach for the Lady Wolves.

Winning the South Division of the MACJC, something Co-Lin had done five consecutive years before last season, will be especially important in 2014-2015 as the division winner host the MACJC State Tournament. Co-Lin hosted the tournament in 2011 and took home the championship with an 85-77 win over Jones.

Co-Lin returns 34.6 points per game scoring, which is one of the reasons the Lady Wolves are picked to finish among the division leaders in 2014-2015. Co-Lin was tabbed as the preseason No. 2 team in Region 23 by voting conducted by the NJCAA.

The Lady Wolves will be tested early in the season, with the defending Region 23 champs, Baton Rouge, visiting for a home game during the second week of the season.

Co-Lin opens their season on Nov. 3 with a trip to Holmes. The women tip off at 5:30 and the men follow with a 7:30 p.m. tip in Goodman. The Wolves host their home debut on Thursday, Nov. 3 with games at 6 and 8 p.m. versus Delta.