Update: Women advance, men fall in national tourney.
Jones Junior College sports fans don’t know which way to turn – and every which way they turn, somebody is winning.
Both men’s and women’s basketball teams won big in their national tournaments Monday. The men, 106-78 winners over Caldwell (N.C.) play again Tuesday against Northwest Florida at 4 p.m. at Hutchinson, Kan.
The women, 64-42 victors over Western Nebraska Monday afternoon at Lubbock, Texas, will play No. 4 seed Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (33-1) at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the No. 1 ranked Jones baseball team swept a double-header from East Mississippi to move to 20-0. The girls softball team is now 24-0 after a double-header sweep of Meridian on Sunday.
Alexis Tolefree scored 16 points and Nique Cherry added 12 to lead the Jones women to their victory over Western Nebraska. The Jones defense ruled the day, holding Western Nebraska to 25 percent shooting and forcing 21 turnovers.
“I thought we just kind of had to grind that one out a little bit,” Jones County head coach Missy Bilderback said. “I don’t know that we played perfect, but we played hard and, like them, we hadn’t played in over a week. A little sluggish at times but overall I thought when we really needed buckets and needed good things to happen, we found a way to make that happen.”
So did the Jones men, who got 24 points from Bruce Stevens to lead five players in double figures.
“The guys played well,” Jones coach Raheem Lockhart said Monday afternoon in the Media Room of the Hutchinson Sports Arena. “It’s kind of what we have been doing all year. We want to keep the tempo up by playing 10 guys, with five in and five out. I was really pleased with what the guys did.
“We felt like in order to get to Hutch, which was our goal, we had to play this season with the end in mind. We wanted to make sure we had enough legs and enough people with experience that when we got to this situation, it would not be a shock to them. We have been playing 10 or 11 guys all year because we knew to win this tournament, you had to have a deep team.”
Rick Cleveland is Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. Read his previous columns and his Sports Daily blog. Reach Rick at email@example.com.
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