Booneville, Miss. - Brenda Mayes can add another memorable triumph to an already impressive list of marquee moments during her outstanding professional career.
Mayes captured her inaugural victory as head coach of the Northeast Mississippi Community College women's hoops program with a 92-63 decision against Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College on Tuesday, November 10 inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
"Tonight was a great win," said Mayes, who is a member of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Sports Hall of Fame with over 1,500 triumphs between the sports of basketball and volleyball in nearly three decades at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School.
"The effort was still there and the young ladies were so excited. From the guards to the post, I think we had a good combination and that's what you've got to have to be successful."
Natasha Jones gave the Lady Tigers a lead that they would not relinquish just 12 seconds into the matchup with a three-pointer. Northeast (1-1) scored 13 of the initial 17 points of the contest.
Back-to-back buckets by Bridgejae Patterson and Timaya Stewart allowed the Lady Tigers to take their first double-digit advantage of the matchup at 21-10. Another Stewart make put Northeast ahead 23-14 at the conclusion of the opening period.
A swift spurt of seven consecutive points that featured baskets by Christy Clark and V'lenchia Farmerextended the lead for the Lady Tigers to 31-16 midway through the second quarter. Taylor Nash's layup that was assisted by Patterson brought Northeast's advantage to 43-27 at halftime.
Shelby Wilbanks was phenomenal after the break for the Lady Tigers. She recorded 13 points and was seven of eight from the free throw line in the third period alone to push Northeast's margin to 69-41.
An 11-0 run that lasted over two minutes and included field goals by Dashiyah Agnew, Farmer, Stewart and Wilbanks gave the Lady Tigers their largest advantage of the contest at 85-50 with 4:40 remaining on the clock.
Tyler Shelley brought Northeast up to its final total with her first ever bucket at the collegiate level. Every player on the Lady Tigers roster scored or had at least one rebound versus the Lady Generals (1-4).
Wilbanks, who was the top scorer in the Magnolia State during her senior year at Walnut High School, notched her inaugural double-double at Northeast with a game-high 30 points and 10 boards. She was 12 of 13 on her free shot tries and also tied Clark for a team-best four assists.
"This is great and it means a lot," Wilbanks said. "The first game I think I was pretty amped up. I was shooting too hard and all my balls kept rimming out. I really worked a lot this week to improve that."
Patterson amassed her second double-double with the Lady Tigers as well. The Prattville (Ala.) High School graduate had a career-high 13 rebounds to go with 14 points in the post for Northeast.
Agnew tallied 11 points and also accumulated seven boards and five steals. Stewart had 11 points and a team-best seven swipes while Farmer and Jones barely missed double digits with nine and eight points, respectively.
The Lady Tigers forced Jackson State into 32 turnovers with 19 of those errors coming on steals. Northeast was excellent on its free throws with a 22 of 29 ledger overall and also went 49.3 percent from the floor.
The Lady Generals were held to only 18.8 percent from beyond the arc by the defense of the Lady Tigers. Northeast accounted for 18 offensive rebounds and transitioned that into 25 second chance points.
(M) Northeast 106, Bethel JV 53
Northeast extended its hot start by crossing the century mark for the second time in three outings when it defeated Bethel (Tenn.) University's junior varsity squad. The Tigers placed 102 points on the scoreboard in a win over Baton Rouge (La.) Community College earlier this year in its annual tournament.
It is the initial time for the Tigers to score 100 or more points twice in a single season since the 2011-12 campaign when they did so against Arkansas Baptist College and Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Sophomores Desmin Harris and Raheem Sorrell had baskets during a 9-0 spurt that gave Northeast an early 17-4 lead. An uncontested layup by Trey Potts that was assisted by Davon Hayes increased the Tigers' advantage to 25-8 in the middle of the first half.
Four straight treys from the combination of Antonio Dodson, Hayes and Potts pushed Northeast ahead 50-19 with just under five minutes remaining prior to the intermission. An offensive rebound and putback from Frank Roberts made it 57-31 in favor of the Tigers at halftime.
Northeast continued to build its lead after its return from the locker room with quick field goals from Tray Lawson and Sorrell. An old-fashioned three-point play by Dashiell Franklin put the Tigers up 64-35 with 15:59 left in the contest.
Leroy Buchanan sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a beautiful alley oop slam dunk off a nice pass from Dodson. Franklin later capped the victory for Northeast with a two-handed jam on a fast break just before the final horn.
It was the largest margin of victory for the Tigers under headman Cord Wright. The previous high for Northeast during his three-year tenure was a 33-point triumph over Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College's junior varsity unit during the previous campaign.
"Our guys obviously got the ball up and down the floor," said Wright. "I thought we played hard for the times that we needed to. We've got a good core that can do different things. Our bench production was key for us."
A majority of the Tigers' production on offense came from substitutes for the third consecutive matchup. Northeast compiled 70 bench points compared to only 22 for the Wildcats (1-6).
Franklin had a game-high 15 points for the Tigers with five rebounds, two steals and one assist. The Monroe, La., native was six of nine from the floor and three of five at the charity stripe as well.
"Coach (Wright) tells me all the time once I get in to play as hard as I can. That's what I focus on," Franklin said. "We're very athletic and that's the strong part about this team. We can get to the rim at any time."
Harris got back on track with his double figure performance of the season and the 13th of his dynamic career at Northeast. The Corinth product drained a pair of attempts from behind the arc and had 14 points.
"It felt really good to get back into the groove," Harris said. "I got to see some shots go in and build some confidence. We played good defense and got the win."
Hayes, who is a transfer from the University of Southern Mississippi, paced a squad that connected on 11 three-pointers with a trio of makes from long distance and 13 points. Buchanan had 11 points and Potts accrued 10 points as well for the Tigers.
Northeast committed only seven turnovers, which was its lowest total since conceding six miscues versus East Mississippi Community College on February 10, 2013. The Tigers had 21 assists with Kendarius Smith and Dodson dishing out five apiece.
Buchanan and Sorrell helped the Tigers gain a plus-17 edge in rebounds with eight boards apiece. Northeast (2-1) had 24 points off turnovers while Bethel could not convert on any takeaways and had zero such points.
The Lady Tigers and Tigers return to action on Thursday, November 12 at Baton Rouge. Tipoff for the first road doubleheader away from the City of Hospitality this season is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Bonne Sante Wellness Center.