PRCC starts tough road trip

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pearl River Community College has taken care of business at home over the past week.

Now, the local juco basketball squad will get a chance to do the same on the road.

PRCC begins a three game road South Division swing beginning tonight, as both the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats travel to Hinds Community College.

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After that, PRCC travels to Meridian and Jones before returning home for two league games against East Central and Co-Lin and then a quick trip to arch-rival Gulf Coast.

It was a win over the gang from Perkinston that started the two game league win streak for the Wildcats.

“We’ve won two big games,”Wildcat head coach Richard Mathis said. “But this road trip will be a big test for us. We will learn a lot about ourselves and our team over the next week or so.”

PRCC picked up a pair of impressive wins here Monday as the Wildcats pulled out a last-second 59-56 MACJC South Division squeaker over Southwest Mississippi, while Lady Wildcats handed the Lady Bears their first league loss 76-63.

PRCC’s men improved to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in division play, while its women are now  11-3 and 2-1 — tied for the South lead. Both PRCC squads had previously swept Gulf Coast, a win Mathis called “one of the biggest we’ve had around here in a long time. We’ve struggled practically the entire season and that was a positive that we can definitely build on,” said Mathis, who’s in his 17th season at The River. “We played solid defense all night long, kept out composure, and wound up beating a very good basketball team. This was a huge win for us.”

Mathis said that the team lost two starters for various reasons over the holidays. and that has seemed to help his squad some.

“A lot of times in basketball, you can have addition by subtraction,” Mathis added. “It has seemed to make our team chemistry better.

Picayune’s Chazz Hawkins has been a stalwart defensively for the Wildcats.

“Chazz usually draws the other teams best player, if it’s a backcourt player,” Mathis added. “He is an excellent defensive player. Against Southwest he guarded a guy that has already signed with Houston.”

Another former Maroon Tide standout, Darionne Jones, had knee surgery just before Christmas and is out right now. Mathis said he could return in a few weeks or he could be in line for a medical hardship redshirt season.