LUBBOCK, Texas — Salt Lake (Utah) Community College ended the Jones County Junior College Lady Bobcats’ dream season Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the National Junior College Division I Tournament.

The win puts the Bruins (30-4) into the final four where they will face No. 1-seed Gulf Coast State at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Jones’ season ends with a 30-2 record and both state and region championships.

“You’ve got to go give credit to Salt Lake, they made some really big shots down the stretch and shot the ball well,” Jones County head coach Missy Bilderback said. “They played with a lot of poise. We haven’t been in a lot of close games. I think we’ve had three that came down to the final minutes all year, and I think a little bit of panic set in late and they made shots.”

Alexis Tolefree of Conway, Ark., led all scorers with 27 points for Jones County and her third 3-pointer pulled the Bobcats to within 76-75 with 1:01 to play. But Tia Hay made a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left and then two free throw from Karina Brandon iced the game for Salt Lake.

Tatyana Lofton (Madison-Ridgeland Acadmey) added 19 points for Jones County, which was making the first national tournament appearance in school history. Nique Cherry (Heidelberg) added 14 points.

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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 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.