Booneville, Miss. - The Northeast Mississippi Community College basketball programs are ready for the home stretch of the regular season with the playoffs looming less than one month away.
The Lady Tigers and Tigers begin the second half of Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division play against Coahoma Community College on Thursday, February 1. Women's tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
Fans can watch every remaining contest this season for Northeast, both home and on the road, live and in high definition by accessing www.nemcctv.com on your smartphone, computer or tablet device.
The Northeast Broadcasting Network also includes new radio affiliate WOWL Fun 91. An audio simulcast featuring Jody Presley and Carter Smith, the Voices of the Tigers, can be heard on frequencies 91.9 FM from Burnsville, 92.9 FM from Florence, Ala., and 102.3 FM from Killen, Ala.
The Lady Tigers find themselves in the exact same position that they were in this time last year. They are tied for first place in the MACJC North Division with their lone loss in conference play coming against East Mississippi Community College.
Northeast looks for better fortune this year after falling to second in the league at the conclusion of the 2016-17 regular season. Brenda Mayes, who is in the third season in charge of her alma mater, expects her team to continue to develop on a daily basis.
"I hope we continue to do well and improve each game," she said. "We have some goals for this team and hopefully if we continue at this rate then we can be able to achieve them."
The Lady Tigers (12-5, 5-1) are maintaining their status as one of the most elite teams in not just the state, but in the country as well in both rebounds, assists and in multiple defensive categories as well.
Northeast currently leads the MACJC and is sixth nationally with 19.8 assists per game. Dayzsha Rogan of Ripley and Tyra Tucker from Calhoun City top that effort with an average of 3.9 dimes respectively.
Rebounding might be the strongest characteristic of the Lady Tigers, who rank eighth countrywide with 47.3 rebounds and seventh with 18.4 offensive boards. Cherelle Jones from Middleton, Tenn., has a team-high 9.8 rebounds and also adds 10.8 points to her resume.
Fellow forward Aundrea Adams of Corinth High School leads Northeast in scoring at 17.4 points per outing. Booneville's own Adallice Young follows her with 12.9 points and a stellar 41.6 three-point percentage.
The Lady Tigers also rank inside the top 30 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in blocks each game with 4.5 and opponents' three-point percentage, which checks in at a low clip of 25.4.
Northeast is actually in better shape on the men's side of the equation than it was at this very date during the previous campaign. The Tigers are one game out of the top spot in the MACJC North Division with opportunities ahead of them to make up the necessary ground.
"We've got to keep taking it one at a time," Northeast head coach Cord Wright said. "We've competed with everybody and we're kind of our own worst enemy. Night in and night out, it's going to be a close game. This team needs to continue to grow and fight through adversity."
The Tigers excel at bringing in rebounds just like their female counterparts. Northeast is fourth in the NJCAA with 49.9 boards per game and boasts the top rebounder in the state in Corinth's Antares Gwyn, who now pulls in an average of 10.9 per contest.
Another top 15 category for the Tigers (13-4, 4-2) is assists. Northeast records 20.8 dimes on 30.7 made field goals per game with former NJCAA Division I Player of the Week Bryant Givens of South Bend, Ind., guiding that effort with 4.6.
Clinton High School graduate Denzel McDuffey has a team-high 16.6 points per game for the Tigers, who are receiving votes in the latest NJCAA rankings. Bryce Smith from Powder Springs, Ga., is the only other Northeast standout to reach double-digits on a nightly basis with 10.7 points.
Baldwyn's Conner McKay hit the game-winning three-pointer during the Tigers' most recent outing at Mississippi Delta Community College. He sits just outside double figures at 9.9 points.
Both teams also welcome East Mississippi on February 8 and Mississippi Delta for their sophomore recognition night on February 19 before advancing into postseason play should they qualify as one of the top four squads in the division.
The MACJC North Division men's champion earns hosting rights for the state tournament from February 26-March 1. Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum is again the location for the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament from March 6-9.