ELLISVILLE – After the 2019-20 Jones College sports year was cut short because of COVID-19, there was uncertainty entering the 2020-21 year in athletics.
As it turned out, the tradition of winning at Jones continued.
The Bobcats amassed an overall record in athletics of 165-49, a .771 winning percentage. Jones also captured four MACCC and Region 23 championships.
In addition, seven of the Bobcats’ 10 sports (including cheerleading), competed in national tournaments.
Jones claimed conference and region titles in women’s basketball, softball, women’s tennis and men’s soccer. The Jones cheer squad won the Open Coed Division at UCA Nationals.
“Winnersville” continues at Jones College.
It was another stellar year for head coach Missy Bilderback’s Bobcats.
Jones achieved its first-ever No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA poll. The Bobcats finished the regular season undefeated (16-0) for the first time in school history.
The Bobcats won the MACCC regular season title (declared co-champions with Coahoma and Itawamba because a postseason tournament was not held because of COVID). It was the fourth conference title in five seasons for Jones.
The Bobcats blitzed through the Region 23 Tournament with wins over Mississippi Delta (86-55), Pearl River (67-52), LSU Eunice (100-74) and Coahoma (80-46). The victory over Coahoma gave the Bobcats its fifth straight berth in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. Jones dropped its only game of the season at nationals to Western Nebraska (63-60).
Guard Daisha Bradford (Mobile, Alabama) was named an NJCAA First Team All-American and a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American and guard JaKayla Johnson (Clinton) was named a WBCA All-American. Bilderback was named Region 23 Coach of the Year. Five Bobcats off of the team signed NCAA Division I scholarships.
Jones ended the season at 20-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the final NJCAA Division I regular season poll.
Head coach Chris Robinson’s team was outstanding once again.
The Bobcats won their seventh conference championship in nine years in impressive fashion. Jones swept four games in the conference tournament with three wins over Top 5 teams. Jones defeated Northeast (9-0), No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast (2-0), homestanding No. 2 Itawamba (6-2) and Itawamba (4-0) to win the title.
Jones then went 4-0 in the Region 23 Tournament at LSU Eunice, beating Northwest (5-0), No. 5 Itawamba (2-1, 9 innings), No. 10 Copiah-Lincoln (7-5, 10 innings) and No. 9 Mississippi Gulf Coast (9-3) to win its fourth region crown since 2016.
The Bobcats went 4-2 in the NJCAA Division II World Series, falling twice in heartbreaking one-run losses to eventual champion Phoenix College (1-0 and 3-2).
Pitcher Nia Luckett (Philadelphia) and first baseman Lauren Lindsey (Mobile, Alabama) were named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) First Team All-Americans and centerfielder Kristian Edwards (Laurel) and third baseman Tyesha Cole (Philadelphia) were named NFCA Second Team All-Americans. Luckett, who was also chosen as Most Outstanding Pitcher at the national tournament, was named an NJCAA First Team All-American and Lindsey, who was voted MACCC Player of the Year, was selected as an NJCAA Third Team All-American.
The Bobcats, who owned a 24-game winning streak during the year, ended the season at 47-9.
Head coach Brooks Buffington’s Bobcats dominated on the hardcourt.
Jones won the MACCC regular season title and owned an 18-0 regular season record. By virtue of winning the regular season championship, the Bobcats earned the right to host the Region 23 Tournament. It was the first time for Jones to host a postseason tennis tournament since 2001.
The Bobcats rolled through regionals, whipping No. 19 Copiah-Lincoln (5-0) and No. 13 Mississippi Gulf Coast (5-0) to improve its match record to 20-0 and give the team a 49-match winning streak dating back to 2019. It was the team’s first region title since 2018.
Andrea Vlasceanu (Spain) and Addy Seward (Richland) were named All-MACCC. Buffington was named MACCC and Region 23 Coach of the Year.
Ally Brooke Chism (Pontotoc) was the recipient of the 2021 ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for junior college women.
The Bobcats finished 14th in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Mesa, Arizona, and Allie Johnson (Hernando) won the No. 6 singles consolation round at nationals.
Head coach Brendan Connolly’s Bobcats made it back-to-back-to-back championships on the pitch.
Jones won its third consecutive MACCC crown and its first-ever Region 23 title when the Bobcats beat Pearl River (4-1) in the championship game. Jones had whipped Holmes (9-0) and Hinds (4-2) in earlier tournament action.
With the win over the Wildcats, the Bobcats qualified for its first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Wichita, Kansas.
Jones lost (2-1) in the final minute to Louisburg (North Carolina) in its opener and then beat (2-1) Southeastern (Iowa) on a Golden Goal by Elean Fajardo (Oak Grove). Because of tiebreaker rules, Jones did not advance out of its pool and Southeastern would go on to win the championship.
Forward Chris Dempsey (Ireland) was named a United Soccer Coaches All-American and an NJCAA First Team All-American.
Connolly headed the MACCC Coaching Staff of the Year and was named Region 23 Coach of the Year.
Jones ended the season at 13-4.
Head coach Kayla Hankins’ cheer squad made history.
Jones won the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Open Coed division at the nationals in Orlando, Florida, in April. The Bobcats bested 13-time defending champion Shelton State (Alabama) in the process.
Over 60 Jones’ cheerleaders including eight off of this squad, have gone on to cheer at four-year schools.
Head coach Dolores Deasley’s Bobcats enjoyed an historic season.
This year’s team became the first to receive an at-large invitation to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Evans, Georgia.
The Bobcats won the MACCC South Division title and finished second in the MACCC/Region 23 Tournament.
But Jones went to nationals and dominated Lake County (Illinois) 5-0 and CCBC Essex (Maryland) 3-0 to win its pool. The Bobcat then fell to eventual national champion Phoenix College (2-0) in the semifinals.
Kendyl Terrell (Hattiesburg) was named a United Soccer Coaches All-American and an NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American. Jordan Smith (Oak Grove) was named an NJCAA Second Team All-American. Anna Crane (Pearl) was named a United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American.
Jones ended the year at 14-3 with 12 shutout victories.
Buffington’s bunch went 16-3 and finished second in the MACCC regular season.
The Bobcats beat Itawamba (5-1) in the Region semifinals before falling to No. 13 Mississippi Gulf Coast (1-5) in the championship. Ryan Myers (Madison Central) and Trey Hilton (Pearl) were named All-MACCC.
Jones advanced to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Plano, Texas, and finished 16th.
Hilton was named the 2021 ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for junior college men.
Head coach Steve Buckley’s Bobcats were the first Jones’ squad to resume play after the COVID shutdown.
Playing an abbreviated fall schedule, Jones went into the final regular season game of the year with a chance to win the South Division, but fell to Mississippi Gulf Coast (35-8).
The Bobcats ended the year 3-2.
Head coach Randy Bolden’s squad had three games canceled on them during the season.
Jones was 6-5 in regular season before falling in a heartbreaker to Northwest (72-70) in the Region 23 tournament opener.
After the season, Bolden resigned to take the head coaching position at Mississippi College.
Newton Mealer was named the new head men’s basketball coach on May 20.
Playing an all-MACCC schedule because of COVID, the Bobcats posted a 24-18 regular season mark.
Jones finished sixth in league play and had to go on the road to face Hinds in a Region 23 Best of 3 series. After winning the opener (7-4), the Bobcats would fall (9-4 and 13-5) to end the year at 25-20.
Former assistant coach Wes Thigpen was named head coach in early June, replacing Chris Kirtland.
2020-21 Athletics Record
SPORT W L
Women’s Basketball 20 1
Softball 47 9
Women’s Tennis 20 0
Men’s Soccer 13 4
Women’s Soccer 14 3
Men’s Tennis 17 4
Football 3 2
Men’s Basketball 6 6
Baseball 25 20
OVERALL 165 49