Southwest Basketball Teams To Compete For Region Title In Jackson

The Southwest Saluqi and Lady Saluqi basketball teams will travel about an hour east to Jackson, Tennessee, and Jackson State Community College March 6-10 to compete for the 2012 TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII championship and a berth in the national tournament.

The Saluqis enter the tournament with an overall record of 14-7 and earned a number two seed with a 12-6 conference record. They will play a quarterfinal game at 6 p.m. on March 7 against the winner of the (seven seed) Cleveland State vs. (ten seed) Dyersburg State game on March 5. The Southwest men's basketball team is under the direction of Verties Sails, Jr., who has compiled a 709-275 record in 33 years as the Saluqis' head coach.

The Saluqis are led by 6'6" sophomore forward Antwon Oliver who averages 15.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game, all team highs. Other possible starters include 6'6" sophomore center Nate Rucker (10.0 points, 5.2 rebounds), 6'3" Marshun Newell (10.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists), 6'4" freshman forward Tavin Cummings (9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds), 6'5" freshman guard Chris Campbell (9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists), and 5'9" sophomore point guard Mario Bass (2.1 points, 3.3 assists). Top players coming off the bench are 5'9" sophomore guard D'Alvin Brown (7.8 points, 46 three-point field goals), 6'4" sophomore guard Montez Fifer (4.9 points, 2.9 rebounds), 5'8" freshman guard Chris Sledge (5.3 points, 2.3 assists), 6'0" freshman guard Anthony Green (4.4 points, 2.4 assists), 6'3" freshman guard Otis Devine (4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds) and 6'9" freshman center Arron Lester (4.4 points, 4.0 rebounds).

The Lady Saluqis enter the tournament with a 19-9 overall record including 10-8 in the conference. They are a number five seed and will play number four seed Volunteer State in a quarterfinal game at 4 p.m. on March 8. Andrea Martre is in her 15th season as head coach of the Lady Saluqis and has compiled a 261-168 record.

Top scorers this season for the Lady Saluqis are 5'9" sophomore guard Amber Dunlap, who leads the team with 14.5 points and 3.4 assists per game, and 5'5" sophomore guard Erica Ousley, who averages 13.0 points per game and is the team's top outside shooting threat with 50 three-point goals made. Other possible starters include 5'7" sophomore guard Montique McConnell (2.1 points, 2.2 assists), 5'4" freshman guard Brandi James (2.7 points, 2.5 assists), 5'11" freshman forward Tenisha Hobson (8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds), and 5'8" freshman forward Reagan White (6.1 points, 4.0 rebounds). Also expected to see significant playing time are 6'2" sophomore center Jenisha Jackson (9.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocked shots), 5'9" sophomore guard Kandi Granger (9.0 points, 44 three-point goals), 5'7" freshman guard Alexanderia Winston (5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds), 5'3" sophomore guard Cratisha Jones (4.3 points) and 5'11" freshman forward TaQuelia Mason (2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds).

Championship games for the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament will be on March 10 with the men's game scheduled for 2 p.m. followed by the women at 4 p.m. Tournament champions advance to the NJCAA National Tournament March 15-19 in Hutchinson, Kansas (men) and Salina, Kansas (women).