East Marion takes Region 7-2A boys’ championship in close win over Bogue Chitto

Published 1:00 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

Draw a two-foot circle around the very front of the rim.

Deep in the paint and at the cup, that’s where East Marion won the Region 7-2A boys’ basketball championship Friday at West Lincoln.

The Eagles (17-4) got multiple shots at the basket on too many possessions and were able to get a 63-60 win over Bogue Chitto (18-5).

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BC came into the tourney as the top seed after going perfect in region play, which included two regular season wins (64-41, 70-57)) over East Marion.

EM led 35-25 at halftime as Bogue Chitto put up jumpers that came up empty and the Eagles crashed the boards for baskets at the rim.

The Bobcats were looking for any type of rhythm early as they finished 6-of-13 from the free throw line in the first half.

The third quarter saw coach Marc Howard’s Bogue Chitto come out with a different type of attack as junior guard Shomari Jenkins and sophomore point guard Devonta “Bam” Thompson attacked the rim.

Thompson hit a layup, Jenkins hit a layup and then knocked down a 3-pointer that made the scored 37-36 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

By the start of the final eight minutes of gameplay, Bogue Chitto had pulled back out front.

Jenkins knocked down two free-throws to make the scored 43-41 for the Bobcats.

The lead was traded back and forth and with both teams in the double bonus, free throws became crucial for whichever team would get the win.

For the game, Bogue Chitto finished 18-of-31 from the free throw and the Eagles were 20-of-28.

Donny Anderson Jr. of East Marion made two free throws with 56 seconds left in the game to tie things up at 59-59.

After two missed free-throws by BC, East Marion took the lead for good on a layup by junior Ladarien Haynes at 61-59.

The East Marion defense blocked a shot on the next Bobcat possession and came down for two free throws by senior Jacob Johnson that put the Eagles ahead 63-59.

The collision on that foul caused one of the East Marion players to leave the bench and come onto the court for a beat, before he was pulled back by his teammates.

One of the referees quickly spotted the player come onto the court and called a technical.

That all meant that Bogue Chitto would then get a pair of free throws and possession of the ball.

Thompson went 1-of-2 from the ft line to make the score 63-60 and give the Bobcats possession with 5.4 seconds left.

A game tying shot wasn’t in the cards as the Bobcats turned it over before getting an attempt up.

Haynes led East Marion with 17 points in the win for coach Calvin Brown Jr.

For Bogue Chitto, Thompsons scored a game high 20 points. Senior Cameron Williams scored 13 points, Jenkins scored 11 points, Jay May scored six points, Noah Magee added four points, Ken May scored four points and Randy Crisler scored two points.

Both teams will host a playoff game on Tuesday in the first round of the MHSAA 2A playoffs.

East Marion will host Philadelphia (8-13) and Bogue Chitto will host Lake High (10-12).

In the consolation game earlier on Friday, Loyd Star won third place with a 56-46 win over Amite County. Loyd Star (12-11) will hit the road on Tuesday to open the playoffs at Kemper County (8-13).