ELLISVILLE --- Holmes Community College freshman forward Justin Johnson scored with a basket with 1.8 seconds left to help lift the Bulldogs to an 84-83 win over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the first round of the MACJC State Tournament here Tuesday.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 16-8 and advance to tonight's semi-finals at 7:30 p.m. vs. Jones. Jones defeated Northwest 107-80 in their first round game. Northeast and Southwest will be playing in the other semi-final matchup today at 3 p.m. Tonight's game can be heard on breezynews.com or watched live at jcjc.tv.
Gulf Coast had a chance at the end of the game on a long inbounds pass but D'Michael Stribling intercepted the pass thwarting the effort of Gulf Coast.
Holmes' freshman guard Trevais Spencer, who finished with 26 points including eight three-pointers, hit three early three-pointers to help the Bulldogs jump out to their largest lead of the game at nine, 13-4, with 16:12 left in the first half. A Mikkel Norment three-pointer kept the lead at eight, 18-10, with 13:11 to play in the half.
Gulf Coast tied the game at 26 with 8:23 to play in the first half and then took a lead. The teams went back and forth the rest of the first half, and Holmes led 42-41 at halftime.
Holmes increased the lead to seven with 17:20 to play when Johnson scored underneath. The lead remained at seven with 16:35 to play when Stanley Williams hit a jumper in the lane to make the score 53-46 before a Spencer two-point bucket increased it to nine at 55-46.
Gulf Coast tied the game at 63 with 10:08 to play and took a lead at 66-65 with 9:21 to play. The teams went back and forth and Gulf Coast held a four-point lead with 3:41 to play before Holmes battled back to retake the lead at 80-79 when Spencer hit another three-pointer with 1:20 left in the contest. Gulf Coast hit two free throws to go up 81-80. Johnson's layup put Holmes up 82-81 with 42 seconds left before Gulf Coast scored again with 19 seconds left to take the lead. Holmes then held the ball until Johnson scored on a Norment assist to get the win.
Johnson finished with 20 points while Norment had 19. Spencer finished with eight rebounds while Marquell Carter had seven. Holmes shot 46.9 percent from the floor, 54.2 percent from the three-point line and 68.8 from the free-throw line.