Fulton, Miss. - Dashiyah Agnew and the Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball team battled until the horn sounded in their second rivalry matchup of the week.
The Lady Tigers cut their deficit to just one possession in the waning moments, but eventually ran out of time in a 65-60 loss to Itawamba Community College on Thursday, January 14 at the Davis Event Center.
The Lady Indians (12-3, 4-0) entered the fourth period of action with a seemingly comfortable 51-35 advantage. But Northeast almost silently chipped away at Itawamba's lead with its largest run being only five unanswered points.
Bridgejae Patterson and Timaya Stewart got the quarter started for the Lady Tigers with back-to-back field goals. Another Stewart make minutes later brought Northeast's shortfall below double figures for the first time in nearly 12 minutes.
Stewart drained a three-pointer and then followed that with another short range jumper to bring the Lady Tigers within 58-53 at the 4:20 mark. Both squads traded a couple of buckets before Agnew connected from beyond the arc to make the score 63-60 with just 54 seconds to go.
The Lady Indians went only two of six from the charity stripe in the last 30 seconds to open the door for Northeast. But the Lady Tigers missed three shots in that same span to stop just shy of finishing what was an impressive come-from-behind attempt.
"I think that the girls came out with the right intensity," said Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes. "We were a little more aggressive on defense, which made offense a little easier. The effort was there and I'm really pleased with that."
Agnew was outstanding in the early goings of the contest. She scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the first quarter to give the Lady Tigers (6-8, 1-3) an 18-16 advantage.
"The post (players) set good screens and helped me get set to drive to the basket," Agnew said. "We came together and everybody played as a team. We fought hard to the end."
Patterson and Stewart each had layups in the second before Northeast went ice cold from the floor. The Lady Tigers did not score for seven-plus minutes to conclude the period and the Lady Indians used an 8-0 run to take a 32-22 lead into the locker room.
A pair of free throws by Shelby Wilbanks and a Patterson make that was assisted by Stewart lifted Northeast closer to Itawamba's advantage at 34-26 three minutes into the third. The Lady Indians were true on three treys from that point to temporarily push further ahead.
Patterson was right behind Agnew with 13 points for the Lady Tigers. She was once again masterful on the boards as well with 20 rebounds to secure her third consecutive double-double performance.
Stewart added 11 points and a team-best five assists. Wilbanks reached double digits for the fourteenth straight outing to begin her career at Northeast with 10 points on the dot.
The Lady Tigers accumulated 38 total points in the paint with Patterson and Wilbanks guiding that effort as usual. Northeast also transitioned its 23 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points.
(M) Itawamba 72, Northeast 66
Kendarius Smith has shown flashes in the past that he can produce offensively for the Tigers. He did so once again versus the Indians with a career-high 15 points for the fifth double-digit game of his tenure at Northeast.
"I knew I was going to have to be more aggressive than I had been," said Smith. "Coach (Cord Wright) has been wanting me to go harder than I what I used to. Starting today that's how it's gonna be."
Smith got the matchup underway with three free throws after getting fouled on an attempt from long distance. Wesley Harris delivered a successful trey moments later to give the Tigers a quick 6-4 advantage.
The two squads switched the lead six times and found themselves in a tie on an additional four occasions in just the initial 10 minutes of the contest. Antonio Dodson broke the last stalemate of the first half on a jumper at the 9:37 mark.
Northeast leaped ahead at 22-15 with six points in a row from the tandem of Raheem Sorrell, Harris and Smith. Desmin Harris later pushed the Tigers' margin to its largest of the period at 30-21 with a shot from behind the arc.
Itawamba came within one possession of Northeast's advantage with one minute remaining prior to the intermission. But a Kendall Stafford basket and free throw from Jack Nichols made the score 33-28 in favor of the Tigers at the break.
Northeast used a 10-2 run to take its biggest lead of the entire game at 47-37 with 14:43 showing on the clock in the second half. Smith initiated the spurt with a three-pointer while Wesley Harris had five of those points.
The Indians compiled a 9-0 stretch of their own that brought the Tigers' advantage down to one point. Itawamba (10-5, 3-1) took its first lead since the opening period with 6:44 remaining on a Frank Anthony trey.
Leroy Buchanan completed an old-fashioned three-point play to bring Northeast back into a deadlock with the Indians at 62-62. But the Tigers could not overtake Itawamba after hitting just one field goal in the final two minutes of the matchup.
"You've got to show up every night," said Wright, who is in his third season as Northeast's headman. "We've got to get back to us doing what we're supposed to. They're winning kids and we'll bounce back."
Wesley Harris recorded his second double-double for Northeast with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was a solid 9 of 15 from the charity stripe with two assists and one block as well.
Buchanan barely missed a double-double himself with nine points and a personal best 10 boards for the Tigers, who are receiving votes in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) rankings. Sorrell was four of five from the floor for eight points.
Northeast outscored the Indians' bench by a 23-18 differential. The Tigers (10-4, 3-1) also amassed 16 second chance points on as many offensive rebounds and 34 points in the post.