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 December 4, 2012

BOONEVILLE, Miss. –  Great Southern writers could not have scripted better home North Division openers for the Northeast Mississippi Community College men and women’s basketball teams.

In the women’s contest, Northeast’s Brian Alexander watched a former player step to the free throw line with a chance to seal the game for Northwest and in the men’s game, Tiger head coach David Robbins suffered through a furious late-game comeback.

However, Alexander and Robbins put the finishing lines in the final paragraph as both walked out of Bonner Arnold Coliseum on Monday, December 3 winners.

Alexander’s crew stepped away with an 88-82 win in overtime after former Lady Tiger Nikki McChristian missed a pair of free throws with 0.3 seconds to go in regulation that would have given Northwest the win.

Robbins captured a 95-92 win against the Rangers as Tyler Brunson blocked a Domonique Harris three-point attempt in the waning seconds of the game.

Northeast’s sweep also gave both Alexander and Robbins their first North Division wins on the year and moved both the Lady Tiger and Tiger basketball clubs to 4-4 overall and 1-1 in the North Division play.

In the opener, Northeast rallied from an 14-point deficit with 6:07 remaining in the game to force overtime at 71 apiece on a LaTonya Gadison layup with six seconds remaining in regulation.

However, Northeast’s valiant effort was almost for naught as Gadison was whistled for a foul with 0.3 seconds to go sending McChristian to the line with the Lady Rangers needing one point to virtually ice the contest.

McChristian missed the first shot to the left and the second bounced off the back iron before falling into the hands of Lady Tiger Talisa Boyd and sent the game into overtime.

Northeast rode the momentum from the second half rally into the extra period to pick up its first division win of the year.

AfterMcChristian’s jumper with 3:50 left in overtime gave the Lady Rangers a 75-74 advantage, Northwest would never lead again as the Lady Tigers went on a 14-7 run to end the game.

Gadison’s jumper with 3:31 showing gave the Lady Tigers the lead for good and Shrita Dixon, Gadison and Boyd would help the Lady Tigers race out to a five-point lead just a minute later on a four-point possession by Northeast.

But it was the 14-point comeback that set the stage for the overtime victory, Antoinette Riddle connected on an old-fashioned three-point play at the six-minute mark that started the rally for the Lady Tigers.

Riddle’s “hoop and harm” and Von Hall’s three-pointer from the left corner cut the game to 65-57 with 4:56 to play and the run was on for the Lady Tigers.

Playing without leading scorer Angelia Allen, who fouled out with 5:26 to go in regulation, Hall and Riddle took over on the offensive end for Northeast.

Following a Monique Biggins free throw with 3:32 showing, Hall and Riddle tallied five straight for the Lady Tigers in slicing the lead down to 68-65 with 2:08 remaining.

Northwest pushed the lead back to five with 34 seconds remaining but a Dixon bucket and Riddle make within nine seconds of each other closed the gap to one with 13 seconds to go setting up the furious finish at the end of regulation.

In the nightcap, Northeast looked to have its first North Division win sewn up with a 12-point lead with 1:40 to go after a Brunson dunk off a Markeevius Brown assist but Northwest had other plans.

A Kenyatta Jones three-pointer at the 1:27-mark started the rally and Northwest would close the gap to three and have a look at a tying bucket before Brunson locked up the game for the Tigers.

Harris pulled the visitors to within five quickly with an old-fashioned, three-point play and a free throw in a 17-second span to make it an 89-84 game with a minute remaining.

However, Booneville’s Keldrick Lesley came off the bench to give the Tigers some breathing room and knocked down a pair of freebies pushing the lead back toseven with 55 seconds remaining.

Northwest would not go away quietly as Tristan Moore’s layup and Jones’ two free throws sandwiched a Brunson point for a four-point contest with 31 ticks showing.

Ian Burress gave the host a little room with a free throw at the 29-second mark but Jones’ jumper with less than 20 seconds remaining cut the lead to three.

Lesley and Harris faced off in the final seconds as Lesley accounted for Northeast’s final two points and Harris made it a two-point game.

Lesley’s freebie with 17 seconds to game was matched by Harris’ layup with 10 remaining for a 94-92 contest but Lesley gave Northeast a three-point cushion with nine seconds to play by making the first of a two-shot foul.

After Northwest rebounded the miss on the second attempt, the Rangers had an open look at the basket when Harris went coast-to-coast but Brunson was able to alter the game-tying shot.

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