-Hannah Richards, Contributing Writer
Last week, the Mississippi College Choctaws basketball team honored their senior players in a small ceremony during halftime and before the men’s game. Both the men’s and women’s team had several players who were playing their last game as a Choctaw in A.E. Wood Coliseum. The women honored four players during their ceremony, presenting each of them with framed portraits of them mid-play, all signed by fellow team members. Jaianah Matthew (#25), Shuntequa Lofton (#24), AnneMarie Harris (#22), and Lauren Bethly (#12) were all present for the ceremony and were flanked by various family members and friends. Most of these women have played at MC for more than one season and are graduating imminently with degrees in kinesiology or exercise science.
During the halftime of the women’s game, the men’s team honored their seniors in much the same way. Their team also had four seniors—Rayner Fredrick (#44), Jay Case (#5), Jaron Edwards (#4), and Emmanuel Ezejiofo (#2). All of these men were transfer players and have played at least one season with the Choctaws.
Fresh off the men’s triumphant victory against University of North Alabama, both the men’s and women’s teams were playing at peak performance. Their opponent was University of Alabama Huntsville, ranked second in the Gulf South Conference. This was the 6th all-time meeting of the two schools. In the last five games played opposite UAH, the Choctaws had won every time. At the beginning of their season, the Choctaws traveled to Huntsville and scored a decisive victory over the Chargers, winning by four points in the last three minutes of the game.
Coming off strong from a four-game winning streak, the Choctaws started off this game well, scoring a flurry of three-point shots during the first ten minutes of the game and pulling away by several points. Freshman Stacey Mack, hailing from McComb, Miss., made an impressive start in the game with a career-high 23 points. Unfortunately for the Choctaws, UAH intensified their game during the end of the first half with the introduction of senior Taylor Chapman. A native of Huntsville, Ala., Chapman consistently sunk baskets, putting UAH in control of the scoreboard for most of the remainder of the game, with the final score of 73-66 in favor of the Chargers. The highlight for the Chargers was inevitably the stunning showing of points from freshman Justin Ward, who scored a career high of thirty points during the game.
As of this game, the Choctaws have three more games to play in the regular season. They will face Lee University on Feb. 19, travel to Shorter University on Feb. 21 and then end the season facing our fierce rival Delta State on Feb. 26. Of these three teams, both Shorter and Delta State are ranked higher in the Gulf-South Conference. With the women’s record of 8-15, they are certainly looking to end the season strong, and with a record a little better than the women, at 11-9, the men’s team will still be looking to regain their winning streak they lost in this game. Hopefully both teams will play to the best of their ability and bring home a decisive win in the next few games.