Jackson State’s tournament hopes end abruptly

Sports

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — It’s Monday after selection Sunday, we should be filling out brackets, and getting ready for the first four, but we’re not. A harsh reality for teams that had their seasons abruptly cut short, including Jackson State.

The Jackson State women’s basketball clinched the regular season title with a 15-2 record in conference play.

The top-seeded Tigers were well on their way to win the SWAC tournament championship in Birmingha, when they learned their season would abruptly end.

The coronavirus put a hault to sports across the country.

“The tears, my coaches broke down,” said head coach Tomekia Reed. “I broke down, I could barely talk to the team. It almost felt like we had gone to the tournament and lost. It felt like everything we had accomplished was in vein. And, I was trying to be a cheerleader for the players and remind them. You are still champions, you’re still number one, you still turned the program around. And, just trying to encourage them. Let’s hang our hats on our accomplishments and not what was taken from us.”

The Jackson State men’s team had won four straight games heading into the SWAC quarterfinals, after a huge 69-52 victory over Alcorn State, the Tigers believed they would make a good run in the league tournament.

“We got to Pearl,” said Wayne Brent, the head men’s basketball coach. “We ended up turning the bus around. When we got off the bus, I told all the guys to go up to the team room, when we go to the team room, they know that something’s not right. Very emotional. Guys that don’t show emotion, were trying to fight back tears, they were crying because at that point they realized that not only is it over for the season, but this is probably the last basketball game I’ll play. This is my last chance. And none of those guys have played in an NCAA tournament, so it was that one moment. It’s like March Madness, that one shining moment. This is my chance. We’re two games away, we know both teams. We’ve played well against everyone in the league. So, we felt very good going into both games.”

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