Warriors fall to Gulf Coast on the court
The East Central Community College Warriors left it all on the floor against Gulf Coast Thursday night as they erased an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes of play but came up just short, 83-78, for their first loss of the season.
With just five minutes before the half, ECCC led by 13, 35-22. However, the momentum swung back into Gulf Coast's favor for the final five minutes of the half as the Bulldogs rallied and went on a scoring streak, eventually tying the game for the fifth time, at 40-all at halftime.
The streaky gameplay continued into the second half as Gulf Coast went on a 17-5 run to open the half and built a double-digit, 65-53 lead at the halfway point of the final 20 minutes.
The Warriors refused to throw in the towel down the stretch. They had some big baskets from Demajion Topps (Winona) and Christopher Keys (Quitman) to help start an ECCC offensive run involving the Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium crowd. As the ECCC energy built, Jelani Clark blew the roof off with a corner 3-pointer with 3 minutes to play to pull the Warriors within one, 74-73.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs connected on a pair of free throws on the other end and followed with a couple of layups off turnovers to pull the game just out of reach in the final minutes.
The Warriors finished the night shooting 33% from the floor, while the Bulldogs shot 42%. Gulf Coast outrebounded ECCC, 60-45, but the Warriors stuck around by forcing 27 turnovers on 18 steals.
Clark led the Warriors with 19 points, while Keys finished with 16 after going 5-for-7 from the free-throw stripe. Topps added 11 points on a team-high three, three-pointers, and David Berry (Mendenhall) came off the bench to add 10. Keys picked up his first collegiate double-double as he led the Warriors with 14 rebounds.
The Warriors are on the road for their next two games with a trip to Meridian on Thursday, Nov. 18, and Co-Lin on Monday, Nov. 22. ECCC is finally back at home in Brackeen-Wood on Monday, Nov. 29, to take on Coahoma at 7 p.m. for the final non-conference matchup of the year.