Jones County Junior College’s men’s basketball team took a big step toward a coveted national championship by defeating Caldwell (N.C.) Tech 106-78 Monday afternoon in the national tournament at Hutchinson, Kan.

The Bobcats, already state and regional champions, moved to 29-1 on the season. They will play Northwest Florida Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in the second round. Caldwell Tech finished 24-9.

Jones won the 2014 national championship. Northwest Florida, Tuesday’s foe, won the 2015 national title.

Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.