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MCC Eagles edge past Lions

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 6, 2001
Backyard rivals playing before a packed house produced a dramatic game here Monday night at the Ivy Sports Center.
Two free throws by Meridian Community College's Robert Ivy sealed the Eagles' 66-64 victory over a tough-minded East Mississippi Lions basketball team.
Meridian moved to 2-0 on the season. For the Lions, it was the opener to a season already marred by the tragic death of mens' head coach Steve Hull.
Hull, though, would've been proud of the effort given by the Lions. They battled back from a seven-point deficit with seven minutes to play and fought the home-standing Eagles to the end.
A missed driving lay-up by Dennis Dupre, however, prevented the Lions from tying the game at 64 in the final four seconds. Ivy then hit both ends of a one-and-one with 3.9 seconds left to seal the contest.
Reshard Alonza, who had a big second half scoring 12 of his game high 18 points, hit the game's final shot at the horn to account for the 66-64 final.
Cole's biggest shot came with 1:21 left when he launched a three-pointer from the corner. The swish turned a 60-59 deficit into a 62-60 Eagles lead. MCC would not trail again.
They were in a zone and we ran our inbound play. The shot was wide open," Cole said. It was the final of four treys on the night.
The Lions did tie it at 62-all but the Eagles got a made free throw from Ricardo Kelly and another from Derrick Houston to go up 64-62 with 12.5 seconds to play.
The Lions grabbed the inbound and went downcourt. Dupre had an open look at the game-tying basket, but the shot rolled off with Ivy gaining the rebound.
Meridian, who made seven three-pointers in the game, had problems in spurts against the Lions. Eagles Head Coach George Brooks said the Lions' 3-2 zone was the primary cause.
Meridian built an eight-point lead on three occassions in the first half only to see the Lions crawl back. The last eight-point spread came at the 4:06 mark of the first half at 27-19 following two made throws by Kelly. It was 33-28 at the half.
East went up 39-38 with 14:04 left on a tip-in by Clem Celestine. The Eagles answered with an 11-4 spurt to go up 49-43 after Cole got a fortunate bounce off a long three-pointer.
MCC's largest lead came with 8:31 to play at 51-44 following a tip-in by Houston.
Alonza's 18 points led East. Davarrius Houston and Ryan Rodiquez each had 16.. Victor Temple and Kelly each had eight for the Eagles.
MCC Women 82,
East Women 68
In a ragged opening event before a charged up crowd, the Meridian CC Lady Eagles repelled the East Mississippi Lady Lions 82-68.
Meridian improves to 2-0 with the win. The loss was the season opener for East.
Lady Eagle Head Coach Hilary Allen credited the inside/outside game of guard Monique Horner and post Cantea Brown for the victory. The pair combined for 42 points.
Horner, who led Southeast Lauderdale to the Class 3A title, finished with 18 points and 11 assists.
East Mississippi Head Coach Dale Peay said the Lions strength inside and turnovers did in his team.
Brown, a 6-2 post, scored 16 of her game high 24 points in the second half. That helped turn a tight four-point lead into a pair of 16 points leads. Her basket with 9:41 left put the Lady Eagles up 71-55.
The largest lead of the game came after Meridian brought in the second unit. Tiwana Collins hit a three-pointer to make it 80-63 with 3:14 left. East got a couple of baskets late to account for the final.
Eva Lockhart added 12 points for Meridian. Genice Terry had eight. MCC made 32 field goals and were 16 of 30 from the line.
East Mississippi was paced by 22 points from Derocious Powe. Candace Spires had 10.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at