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Clayton State women to host basketball tournament

Senior Shacamra Jackson leads the Clayton State team in points and rebounds heading into today’s holiday basketball tournament in Morrow. (Special Photo).

Senior Shacamra Jackson leads the Clayton State team in points and rebounds heading into today’s holiday basketball tournament in Morrow. (Special Photo).

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Clayton State coach Dennis Cox win enter today’s holiday tournament games with 250 wins at the Div. II school. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

MORROW — Three days after helping coach Dennis Cox reach a milestone victory, the Clayton State women’s basketball team will return to action today.

The seventh-ranked Lakers will host its annual Heritage Bank Holiday Classic at the Athletics Center on campus.

On Tuesday, the Lakers defeated Columbus State 79-69 on the road to give Cox his 250th win on the NCAA Div. II level. In 10 seasons at Clayton State, the victory gives Cox a 250-50 record at the school. He ranks among the winningest NCAA Division II coaches in the country, and reached the milestone with an impressive .833 winning percentage.

But the Lakers focus now is on the tournament, which has round-robin format for the two day tournament.

Clayton State will host Southern Poly at 5:30 p.m. today in the first regular season meeting between the schools. The Lakers defeated the Hornets 78-68 last year in an exhibition game.

Clayton State enters today’s game with a 6-1 record after the milestone win at Columbus State on Tuesday. The Lakers are led by the duo of senior Shacamra Jackson and junior Yishica Sims. Jackson is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game, while Sims is also averaging 15 points per contest.

In Friday’s opening game, which starts at 3:30 p.m. will feature fellow Peach Belt Conference member Lander against Lenoir-Rhyne. The Clayton State game will follow.

Lander, which is located in Greenwood, S.C., are coming off a 2-65 win over UNC Pembroke earlier this week. The Bearcats enter the tournament with a 5-4 mark and has been led by Kayla West and Alexis Armstrong. West leads the team at 16 points per game, while Armstrong averages 11 points and 11 rebounds per contest.

Lenoir-Rhyne of North Carolina, enters the Classic with a 5-3 record and is coming an 80-77 loss to Carson-Newman. The Bears, who compete out of the South Atlantic Conference, are led by Jazmine Charles, averaging 18 points and eight boards per game, followed by Jenni Gust at 16 points per contest.

Southern Poly is located in Marietta, and has a 6-2 record entering the game. The Hornets, who were ranked among the nation’s top NAIA squads a couple of weeks ago, are coming off a 75-73 loss to Loyola of Louisiana. The squad defeated Peach Belt opponent USC Aiken 65-59 earlier this month. Southern Poly is led by Sarah Ogoke averaging 18 points per contest.

On Saturday, Clayton State will play Lenoir-Rhyne at 3:30 p.m. after the first game featuring Lander and Southern Poly at 1:30 p.m. The Lakers edged Lenoir-Rhyne 52-48 in last year’s Classic in a game that went down to the wire.

Over the last 12 years of play in the Heritage Bank Classic, the Lakers have a 21-3 record and have won 18 straight games in the event.