With just six seconds on the clock, ECCC sophomore Timothy McElroy (DeKalb) threw down a right-handed dunk to put the Warriors up by one point over the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves. The 6'9 center followed the big play with another as he blocked the would-be Co-Lin game-winner at the buzzer, securing the Warriors' second win of the year, 82-81. The Warriors move to 2-10 overall on the year while the Wolves fall to 3-9.
"Our guys are starting to learn lessons from these challenging losses we've had this year, and are starting to apply those lessons, so I believe some winning is coming to this program," said ECCC head coach Rahim Lockhart. "McElroy has a lot on his shoulders, he missed a layup late but dug deep and got that dunk and block, which showed me that he is really improving especially when he is fatigued late in the game...I'm just very proud of our guys and our sophomores that stepped up tonight."
The Warriors were on fire from the opening tip as just five minutes into the contest the lead was 21-2. The hot start came from several Warriors, but Landyn Shows (Petal) let his presence be known as he netted back-to-back three-pointers early. The sophomore would go on to make two more in the first half. Other big baskets in the opening minutes came from Devin Carter (Louisville), Darien Newchurch (Jackson), Tate Ryder (Hattiesburg), Matthew Mackey (Flowood), and JaMichael Wilson (Rayville, La.). The impressive team effort and hustle on both ends of the floor allowed the Warriors to grow the lead to 27-6 at the midway mark in the first half.
The Wolves made some big threes late in the first half and chipped at the lead, but ECCC was up by 14, 44-30, going into the locker rooms.
The second half saw another explosive start as ECCC leaped back up to a game-high 21-point lead, 51-30. The Warriors would hang on to that advantage until an 11-1 Co-Lin run that featured three, three-pointers from Dee Merriweather cut the lead to eight, 72-64, with just six minutes remaining. The Wolves continued to knock down shots in the final minutes and cut the lead until another Merriweather three put Co-Lin on top, 81-80, with just 42 seconds on the clock, the Wolves' first lead of the contest. After some misses, the Warriors had possession with 10 seconds on the clock. Carter drove to the basket and dropped a dime to McElroy for the go-ahead score before McElroy swatted the game away from Co-Lin.
The Warriors finished the night shooting 45 percent from the floor and 87 percent from the stripe, making 13-of-15 free throws. Carter finished the night with 18 points to lead the team in the scoring column, while Shows' four three-pointers helped him net 14 off the bench. Demajion Topps (Winona) and Wilson finished with 13 points each. McElroy finished the night with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Co-Lin was led by Merriweather's 28 points as he rattled home seven three-pointers. Demarcus Ellzey hit an additional five three-pointers for the Wolves to finish with 15 points. Overall Co-Lin shot 39 percent from the field and was 16-for-38 from three-point range for 42 percent.
The Warriors are on the road next Monday, March 15 as the team travels to Utica to take on the Hinds Bulldogs in one of the final two regular-season games of the year. That contest tips at 6 p.m.
By: Lucas Calvert