Late offensive push falls just short vs. Southwest

Demajion Topps (Winona) drives to the basket in ECCC's season opener versus Pearl River. The freshman finished with 31 points in Thursday's game versus Southwest. (EC Photo)
Demajion Topps (Winona) drives to the basket in ECCC's season opener versus Pearl River. The freshman finished with 31 points in Thursday's game versus Southwest. (EC Photo)

Despite 12 three-pointers from the Warriors and a stellar 31-point performance from Demajion Topps (Winona), the East Central Community College Warriors fell to 0-2 on the year with an 87-83 loss to the Southwest Bears (2-0) on Thursday night. The Warriors showed a lot of grit throughout the night as they erased a 15-point deficit and bounced back from a late-game Southwest run.

Three-pointers rained in the opening minutes as both teams utilized the deep-ball to set the tempo. The two squads chipped back-and-forth with neither pulling away to a big lead in the opening minutes. With 10:30 remaining in the half the Bears looked to grow a lead, but Devin Carter (Louisville) intervened and cut the Southwest lead to just one, 23-22, with a four-point play after being fouled on a corner three-pointer. Just when the momentum seemed to swing in the Warriors favor, a 15-1 run by the Bears put them out front, 38-23. The Warriors refused to throw in the towel in the first half and responded with an explosive offensive run from William Thompson (Tupelo), Topps, and Carter. Topps capitalized on numerous trips to the free throw line as he rattled home seven-of-eight shots from the stripe in the first half alone. Going into the locker room the Warriors were on an 11-2 run and trailed by just six, 40-34. 

The second half was much of the same in terms of excitement as both teams pushed the ball in transition and played fast-paced basketball. By the midway point in the second half, the Warriors had clawed back and tied the game at 53-all, the first tie of the contest. Once again, the Bears snatched the would-be momentum push from the Warriors and fired off a 16-0 scoring burst to grow the lead to 69-53 with less than seven minutes to play. Darien Newchurch (Jackson), Landyn Shows (Petal), Carter, and Topps all began to pour in the three-pointers down the stretch, but the Bears' lead was just too much as time expired with the Warriors trailing, 87-83. 

Topps' 31-point night led the way and set an early career-high for the freshman. Carter added 22 for the Warriors, also a career-high, while Newchurch poured in three, three-pointers for nine points on the night. 

The Warriors travel to Ellisville on Monday night as the team is set to face off with the Jones College Bobcats (0-2). Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 6 p.m., but due to COVID-19 protocol, no visiting fans will be allowed to attend Monday's game. Everyone is encouraged to tune in at JCJC.tv to watch the game live. 

Lucas Calvert

                   Sports Information Director
                   East Central Community College