The freshman from Baldwyn dropped in eight points during a key stretch for the Lady Tigers to help them pull away and win 74-66 over Columbia State Community College at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on Monday night.
“I was nervous at first, but I knew I had to put that aside and do what I had to do for my teammates,” said Ragin. “I saw the open shots so had to take it.”
The Lady Chargers started the game quickly and took a 15-9 lead with 11:25 to play in the first half after back-to-back baskets by Anika Nottingham and Marissa Lyttle.
From that point, though, the Lady Tigers stepped up and held Columbia State scoreless for a period of 7 minutes, 24 seconds. Antionette Riddle and Daisha Williams both had two steals in that stretch to head the stifling defensive pressure.
“It’s absolutely crucial for us to guard how we want to guard,” said Northeast head coach Brian Alexander. “That was really impressive. We are showing glimpses that we can put it together.”
The Lady Tigers (1-2) scored 14 unanswered points before Lamarra Gordon went one-of-two from the charity stripe at the 4:01 mark to break the cold streak.
Angelia Allen tied the contest and then put Northeast up for good with a put back after two straight offensive rebounds.
Ragin got into the action with a layup and then completed the opening half run by the Lady Tigers with two makes from behind the arc within a span of 40 seconds that extended Northeast’s advantage to double digits at 31-18.
“We kind of had like a little grind going on there for seven or eight consecutive possessions,” Alexander said. “Those three’s really helped us move to where we needed to be in that stretch of the game.”
Riddle scored six points while both LaTonya Gadison and Teresa Mays added field goals in what turned into a 22-3 Northeast scoring spurt. The Lady Tigers held their ground and stayed ahead 32-23 at the break.
Columbia State came as close as four points early in the second half, but Allen scored 11 of her team-high 17 points following the intermission to hold the Lady Chargers (2-4) at bay.
“I’m getting better because of my teammates. They’re always encouraging me,” said Allen. “Coach (Alexander) just told us to play how we practice everyday and that’s what we did.”
Northeast won the battle in the post and recorded a plus-17 rebound margin. The Lady Tigers had a 20-7 edge in offensive boards and tallied 17 more second chance points than Columbia State.
Gadison notched 15 points and Riddle 12. Allen and Gadison, both sophomores, barely missed double-doubles with nine and eight rebounds, respectively.
Gordon had a game-best 28 points for the Lady Chargers, while Nottingham added 17 points and 13 boards.
(M) Columbia St. 72, NE 63
Defense ruled for the Tigers in the men’s matchup as well. Northeast held visiting Columbia State well below their average of 98.8 points per game.
It is the lowest score for the Chargers in six contests this season. They were also held under their usual percentage in field goals (40.7 percent) and three-point makes (30.8 percent).
“We executed the scout that I wanted them to do,” said Tigers headman Cord Wright. “We played at the pace we needed to and gave ourselves a chance to win. They just made some tough plays down the stretch.”
Columbia State (6-0) benefited from early trips to the free throw line. The Chargers reached the bonus within the opening nine minutes of both halves and cashed in by making 24 of 29 attempts.
Northeast took its biggest advantage of five points with 9:26 to play in the first after two baskets in a row by Keldrick Lesley and Marcus Hogan.
The Tigers controlled the tempo and slowed the pace in that half. The two teams exchanged the lead three times with Columbia State jumping ahead 29-25 at intermission.
Matt Smith connected on two buckets to kick-start a 9-2 run by the Chargers out of the break that lengthened a lead they would not relinquish.
Northeast got within six points three times, including on subsequent three-pointers by Cannon Edwards with 11:05 remaining, but could not push any closer.
Reggie Patterson recorded the best outing of his young collegiate career. He made some nice moves, including twice in the post where he was fouled and still connected on the bucket, and finished with 14 points.
“Coach Wright was saying we were settling for the three a little bit too much in the first half,” said the Baldwyn native. “He told me to play aggressive like I’ve been in practice, so I just started to take it to the goal.”
Dimario Jackson continued his solid play from the guard position and dropped in a team-high 17 points for the Tigers (1-3).
Smith led four Columbia State athletes in double figures with 19 points and played all 40 minutes. He also tied with Northeast’s Cameron Shorty for a game-best seven boards.
Both the Lady Tigers and Tigers have the remainder of the week off before traveling south to participate in the Southwest Mississippi Community College Coca-Cola Classic. Northeast starts the two-day event on Monday, November 18 against Southern University at Shreveport.
The women’s contest tips at 1:30 p.m. with the men to follow at the Southwest Basketball Center.