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Co-Lin claims MACJC title

DAILY LEADER / NATALIE DAVIS / The undefeated Co-Lin Lady Wolves (26-0) wins the 2015 MACJC State Championship.

DAILY LEADER / NATALIE DAVIS / The undefeated Co-Lin Lady Wolves (26-0) wins the 2015 MACJC State Championship.

WESSON – Another gold ball has been added to the shelf in Gwyn Young’s office. The No. 18 Copiah-Lincoln Lady Wolves easily handled the Meridian Lady Eagles 78-60 in the MACJC State Championship on Thursday in Wesson.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Mississippi Community and Junior College (MACJC) Director of Activities Jim Southward presents the state championship trophy to Co-Lin sophomores Claresa Banks (center) and Caroline Lumpkin.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Mississippi Community and Junior College (MACJC) Director of Activities Jim Southward presents the state championship trophy to Co-Lin sophomores Claresa Banks (center) and Caroline Lumpkin.

The win gave Young his eighth state title in his 37th season coaching the Lady Wolves and his second in three years. Facing a Meridian team that they swept in the regular season and coming off of tough semifinal win over Jones County on Wednesday, Co-Lin (26-0) was content to keep the game at a slow pace early on. The Lady Wolves led 34-27 at halftime as both teams walked the ball up the court on nearly every possession.

In the second half the pace quickened. The final score when the two teams met ten days ago in Wesson saw Co-Lin win 98-85 in Wesson. Meridian guard Maia McCullum gave her Lady Eagles a spark off the bench as she nailed three 3-pointers early in the second half to keep the game close. McCullum would finish with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line.

As they were against Jones County, Co-Lin was led in the win by the freshman duo of Alexis Collins and Kelley Allen. Collins broke the Meridian defense down with drives to the rim. The Forest Hill graduate scored 18 points and dished out six assists in 39:49 minutes of action. Allen, who only had four points at halftime, finished with 18 points, six rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. Freshman guard Jamilah Sanders, the Swiss Army Knife of the team, scored 14 points, handed out seven assist, grabbed five rebounds, made four steals, and blocked one shot. Sophomore Tyra Gibson added 10 points and six rebounds.

The post trio of Allen, Toni Woods, and Kristal Flowers did an outstanding job of slowing down Meridian’s All-State forward Miaya Crowder. Crowder, coming off a 30 point and 20 rebound game in an upset of East Central, was held to eight points and nine rebounds before fouling out with seven minutes remaining in regulation.

Co-Lin used a run early in the second half to push a seven-point lead to 14 in under two minutes. The Lady Wolves held their biggest lead (22) with 11:06 remaining in regulation. The Lady Wolves feasted off of Meridian miscues, causing 21 Lady Eagle turnovers. Co-Lin out-rebounded Meridian 43-34 and shot 45 percent from the floor as opposed to 36 percent by Meridian. Co-Lin did shoot an abysmal 4-of-14 from the 3-point line and also missed 10 free throws.

Titiana Hall scored a team high 15 for Meridian (17-10). The Lady Eagles, the South No. 4 seed, made the finals after upsetting North No. 1 Itawamba in the quarterfinals and South No. 2 East Central in the semifinals.

Co-Lin will next move on to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College. The Lady Wolves will play Holmes on Thursday, March 5. An official bracket with game times will be released on Friday