Thursday night saw the opening rounds of the EAC Monster Jam Classic.
The Gila Monsters’ women’s team collected win number one with a 63-44 win over the Morton College Panthers of Cicero, Illinois.
The Panthers led Eastern for most of the first quarter, but the Monsters were finally able to tie the score up at 10-10 with 2:17 left. Both teams were only able to add two points from there and the score was 12-12 going into the second period.
One minute and nine seconds into the second quarter and the score still knotted at 12, Morton Coach Jason Nichols called for time out. Whatever was said in the time out was effective because the Panthers came out and built a 17-12 lead before Khadija Smith stopped the Morton scoring run with 4:00 left in the half, 17-14.
Endigo Parker cut into the Morton lead when she hit a pair or free throws, 17-16.
The Panthers inched ahead 21-16, but Isis Smith nailed a three-point shot 21-19.
Malia Cabigon added a bucket with 17 seconds left to make sure the game was tied at halftime.
With six minutes left in the third period things were once again tied, this time at 29-29.
EAC managed to get a 34-31 advantage, but at the 2:15 something was said or done and Morton coach Jason Nichols was escorted to the visitors’ locker room. He would no longer have a presence in the game due to the technical foul and the ejection.
Catarina Ferreira went to the line to shoot the three shots awarded on the technical foul and sunk all three, 37-31. The Monsters moved ahead 41-35, but a foul with 1.3 seconds sent Tiara Bolden to the charity line where she was spot on, 43-35 to close the third period.
Without the vocal presence of their coach, the Panthers seem to be a little flat. Plus a couple of timely steals by Jasmine Singleton were converted into quick Monster points. EAC now moved ahead by twenty points, 58-38.
The Monsters’ defense made sure that Morton could not find the Eastern hoop and that they were forced to hurry shots. They even got a shot clock violation.
In the last two minutes the Panthers out-scored EAC 6-5, but by that time the margin was too great and the time too short for Morton close the gap, EAC 63-Morton-44.
The No. 13 Gila Monsters defeated Frank Phillips College (Texas) 62-59 Friday night and Community Christian College 86-35 Saturday.