February 24, 2017

The East Central Community College men’s basketball team won a 122-119 double overtime thriller over Hinds Community College on “Sophomore Night” in Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium Thursday, Feb. 23.

The Warrior basketball team earned an NJCAA Region 23 Tournament berth with the win over the Bulldogs.

ECCC started out slow in the first half, trailing Hinds 51-42 at the intermission.

The Warriors continued to trail most of the second half before taking the lead with six minutes left. The Bulldogs did not go down without a fight tying the game up several times, including on a last second shot to send the game into its first overtime tied 97-97.

The game then went into double overtime tied at 107, before the Warriors pulled away with victory.

East Central had several players step up after the Warriors got into foul trouble, including freshman guard Thurston McCarty of Quitman High School who put up a career-high of 28 points and scoring many late key baskets for the Warriors.

Other Warriors in double-digit scoring were sophomore Tonzell Handy of Lanier High School with 17 points, freshman Cayman Ruffin of Neshoba Central with 14, sophomore Shaquille Benson of Hahnville (La.) High School and Cameron Diggs of Blount (Ala.) High School with 13 each, and Jaquan Dotson, also from Neshoba Central, with 11 points.

The Warriors shot 60 percent from the field for the game.

ECCC ends the regular season 9-5 in MACJC South Division and 14-9 overall.

The Warriors now move on to face Northeast Mississippi Community College MACJC State Tournament as the No. 4 Seed from the South Division. Northeast is the No. 1 Seed from the North Division. The teams will meet Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.