Allen and Hodge set for battle

By By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports editor
March 3, 2002
Hilary Allen understands the position Brad Hodge is in very well.
Allen, the second-year coach of the Meridian Community College women's basketball team takes his 28-2 Lady Eagles into Monday's 6 p.m. matchup with Hodge's East Central Community College team in the first round of the Region 23 Basketball Tournament with one thing on his mind redemption.
East Central, in the final year of Sammy Pace's reign has head basketball coach, won the Region 23 title last year and earned a place in the NJCAA National Tournament. Meridian Community College had done just that the previous two years under then head coach Sandy Pugh.
So this year, Allen would like to lead his club back to Salina, Kan., the sight of the National Tournament, while Hodge would like to follow in his predecessor's footsteps and make it back-to-back trips for the Lady Warriors.
East Central lost six sophomores off last year's squad, with five of them having opportunities to extend their careers at four-year schools.
The Lady Warriors go into Monday's game at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College in Clinton with a 14-10 record.
But by no means is Hodge giving up on his team's chances this season.
The tournament opens on Monday with four women's games, followed by four men's games on Tuesday. Wednesday features the men's and women's semifinals with the women's finals tipping off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, followed by the men's championship at 8.
Sophomore Nikki LaCour leads ECCC with a 19 points per game scoring average, while Christina Ford of Enterprise is second at 10 points.
MCC goes into the game with five players averaging in double-figures n scoring.
Cantea Brown leads the way at 15.5, while Genice Terry is at 14.3, Monique Horner hit at a 13.9 clip, Tijwana Collins averages 11.8 and Ericka Starks is at 10.8. Not far behind is Felicia Washington who averages 9.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Brown is the top rebounder at 10.7, while Horner dishes out 9.7 assists per game.
The winner of Monday's MCC-ECCC game plays the Southwest-Northeast winner at noon on Wednesday.

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