Wildcats win tourney opener

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There’s an old adage in the world of sports that basically says it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season.

It was no problem for the red-hot Pearl River CC Wildcats on Monday.

Head coach Richard Mathis’ crew won its 15th straight game, knocking off Holmes  68-48 in the opening round of the MACJC state tournament here at Currie Coliseum on the campus of East Mississippi Community College.

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The win pushes PRCC’s overall mark to 21-4, and ends Holmes’ season at 10-14. The Wildcats are the South Division champion and the Bulldogs entered the game as the fourth seed from the North Division.

The win allows the Wildcats to move on to semifinal action Thursday afternoon, where they will face the number two seed from the North, Itawamba. The Indians beat the South’s number three seed Hinds 71-58 in the game preceding the PRCC-Holmes contest.

The winner of that 2 p.m. Wednesday contest will earn a berth in the men’s title bout set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Monday’s win was the third of the season for PRCC over Holmes, as PRCC swept the Bulldogs during the 2009-2010 regular season with a 72-69 victory Nov. 9 in Goodman and an 82-59 win Nov. 19 in Poplarville.

In the latest win, the Wildcats wasted no time in laying to rest anyt houghts the Bulldogs may have had of springing an upset as PRCC raced out to a commanding 35-17 lead at halftime.

Phillip Crawford lead the way in the win for the Wildcats, as he scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds while Kenderek Washington added 11 points and grabbed a game high seven boards. Desmond Ratliff added nine points to the winning cause and  Rod Little and Denzel McDaniel added seven points apiece.

Anthony Jones paced Holes with a game high 21 points.

The final two men’s games of the opening day pitted host East Mississippi against Gulf Coast and Jones County   against Northeast Mississippi.

The women begin play today.