Lon Morris College took the wraps off of the 2010-11 basketball season by playing host to Weatherford College Monday evening at the Smith Events Center.
The Bearcats had no difficulty in coasting to an 87-53 win over the Coyotes from NJCAA Region V and things could have been much worse for the visitors had LMC head coach Dale Dotson, who experienced his 44th opening-night as a head coach — 22 of those years have been at LMC — on Monday not substituted early and often. Eleven ‘Cats broke into the scoring column, with four players scoring in double-digits.
The Lady Bearcats tangled with the Weatherford women in the opener and after trailing by as many 12 points early in the final half, the LMC ladies fought back to pull to within a bucket with 1:01 to play before the Lady Coyotes eventually pressed out a 50-45 win.
The game served as Lady ‘Cat head coach Brenita Williams’ first game as bench boss of the Green and White.
Both LMC units return to the hardwood later this week, with the LMC men hosting the Texas Wesleyan JV at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Lady ‘Cats will be taking part in the McLennan Classic in Waco on Friday and Saturday.
LMC is scheduled to face the host team at 6 p.m. Friday and will battle Temple College at 2 p.m. on the closing day.
Bearcats 87 Coyotes 43
Niko Stojiljkovic’s one-hand slam dunk just nine seconds into the game served as omen of things to come in the men’s game.
Not only did the 6-foot-10 wing from Paris, France lead LMC in scoring with 17 points in limited duty, but the ‘Cats flushed the Coyotes (0-1) with ease, racing out to a 7-0 lead and taking their first double-digit advantage with just under 15 minutes to play in the opening half.
LMC’s largest lead of the first segment came with :37 to go in the period when Jorge Redmon (Arlington, Texas) drained a trey from the left corner to put the ‘Cats (1-0) up 38-25.
Redmon pumped in 15 points including three shots from long distance.
The second half brought more of the same for the ‘Cats as LMC moved ahead by 23 points, 53-30, on a jumper by Byron Graham (Riverside, Ga) that came around the 15-minute mark.
Graham’s shot capped off a 13-3 LMC run.
Dallas Jones (New Market, Ala.) and Vernell Blackman (Dallas) added 11 points apiece for the ‘Cats.
Longview-product Dominick Walker tossed in seven points while Antonio Brown (Brooklyn, NY) was good for five.
Weatherford was led in scoring by Brandon Harrison with 16 points.
Lady Coyotes 50
Lady Bearcats 45
Both teams sloshed through less than stellar shooting nights from both the field and from the charity line. WC hit 13-of-44 (29.5-percent) from the field while the Lady ‘Cats managed to make only 14-of-67 (20.1-percent) from the field.
Each squad checked in at 50-percent from the free throw line — the Lady Coyotes sank 21-of-42 and LMC connected on 12-of-24 free throws.
Williams said following the game that a poor shooting night from the line was one of the reasons the Lady ‘Cats were unable to come away with a victory.
“We missed too many free throws,” she said. “Also we have got to find a way to stop fouling so much. But, I was pleased with the team’s effort, they fought hard all the way.”
Leading by two points, WC’s Andrea Davis came up with a steal with just over 30 seconds to play which forced LMC to foul in order to get the ball back.
Ryan Green, who led the Lady Coyotes with 10 points, then drained a pair from the line with 29.9 ticks to go that put WC up 47-43 and in control.
Dominique Edwards (Grand Prairie) wrestled down an offensive board and put the ball through the iron to pull LMC to within three, 48-45, with 12 seconds left, but that would be as close as the Lady Cats would be able to get to victory.
Whitley Kizzie (Fort Worth) was the leading LMC scorer, with 11.
Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya) and Ariana James (Sparks, Nev.) added nine points each for the Lady ‘Cats.
James also had 10 rebounds while Adhiambo accounted for seven boards.