Any fears the Jones County Junior College Lady Bobcats were still thinking about winning last week’s MACJC Tournament instead of concentrating on this week’s Region 23 Tournament were unfounded.
The Lady Bobcats crushed the Southwest Mississippi Community College Lady Bears 102-64 here Tuesday afternoon in the first round of region play at the A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College.
Head coach Sandra Sumrall’s Lady Bobcats will now meet East Mississippi Community College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in a semifinal contest. The Lady Lions edged the Northwest Lady Rangers 47-44 earlier Wednesday. Co-Lin met East Central and Itawamba faced Meridian in the other first round contests later Wednesday.
With the win, JCJC improves to 23-6. The Lady Bobcats have now won 10 of their last 11 games, including seven straight.
Southwest ends the season at 14-10.
The Lady Bobcats were impressive in most every facet of the game.
They displayed their usual balance, placing six players in double figures. Taylorsville freshman Ashley Lee had a superb game with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Northeast Jones sophomore Conseula Tucker had 16 points and seven rebounds. Wayne County sophomore TeAnna Carter had 15 points and four assists. Chatom, Ala., sophomore Brittany Leverett had 12 points and six rebounds. Jackson Jim Hill freshman Brigit Taylor had 11 points and seven rebounds. Perry Central sophomore Demara Bolton had 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
JCJC hammered Southwest on the boards by a 51-26 count. The Lady Bobcats shot 54 percent from the floor, while holding the Lady Bears to just 34 percent shooting.
The Lady Bears led 4-2 about one minute into the game, but that would be the last time they would lead. JCJC scored 10 straight points and went up 12-4 with 15:08 left in the first half when Tucker scored. They then went on a 19-4 run to take a commanding 31-8 lead with 10:05 left when Lee scored.
JCJC took its longest lead of the first half at 45-17 with 5:14 showing when Tucker scored again. Southwest then outscored the Lady Bobcats 15-4 down the stretch to trim the lead to 49-32 at halftime.
But that would the last gasp for the Lady Bears.
Jones took the lead back out to 63-36 with 15:16 left to play on another Tucker basket. A Lee bucket at the 8:55 mark gave Jones an 82-52 lead. Taylor’s rebound basket with 4:32 remaining gave JCJC its longest lead up to that point at 94-56.
Jordyn Meranto’s basket with 2.2 seconds left provided the game’s final margin, matched their longest lead and also put every Lady Bobcat into the scoring column.
Southwest got 14 points from Ta’Keya Felder and 11 points and seven rebounds from Octavia Bearden.
This sets up the fourth meeting of the season between JCJC and EMCC. The Lady Lions won 78-76 back in the season opener on Nov. 3 in Ellisville and they whipped the Lady Bobcats 86-57 on Dec. 2 in Scooba. But the Lady Bobcats came back and defeated the Lady Lions 59-54 in last week’s MACJC semifinals at Bobcat Gym.
Wednesday’s game will air via webcast at www.jcjc.tv with Lance Pittman doing play-by-play and Mark Easley providing color commentary.