• 79°

PRCC and Jones split pair in the cat fight

EXCUSE ME: Pearl River’s Rakeem Esco (10) drives the court in the Wildcats’ 64-62 MACJC South Division loss to Mississippi Gulf Coast recently in Poplarville.  The Wildcats have lost four straight games entering Thursday’s game against Jones. Photo by Mitch Deaver

EXCUSE ME: Pearl River’s Rakeem Esco (10) drives the court in the Wildcats’ 64-62 MACJC South Division loss to Mississippi Gulf Coast recently in Poplarville. The Wildcats have lost four straight games entering Thursday’s game against Jones.
Photo by Mitch Deaver

POPLARVILLE – A recent trend continued for both Pearl Rver Community College basketball teams Thursday night.

And that wasn’t a good thing for the PRCC men.

Pearl River split with arch-rival Jones County in women’s and men’s MACJC South Division basketball action, as the host Lady Wildcats pulling off an 89-83 overtime victory, while the Wildcats couldn’t stave off a second-half comeback by the 14th-ranked Bobcats and fell 72-69.

The Lady Wildcats have won five of their last six games, and now stand 10-2 overall and 5-1 in division play.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, lost their fifth straight game and dropped to 9-5 overall and 2-4 in league play. The PRCC men have not won a game since returning from the Christmas break. They started the season 9-0 before the holidays hit.

The Jones women are now 10-5 and 5-2, while its men are 14-1 and 7-0.

In the women’s game, the score was knotted three times and the lead exchanged hands six times in the first half. Shanta’ Echols of Sumrall High sank pair of free throws to knot it up at 30-30 with 1:05 left before the break, but the Kadie Parker scored five in the last minute to give the Lady Bobcats a 35-31 edge at the intermission.

The second half saw five stalemates and six lead changes. Latisha McCullum banged in a three with just over eight minutes left in regulation to snap a 58-58 tie and kicked off a 12-4 scoring run to give JCJC its largest lead at 70-60 with 6:30 left. Deantra Darjean, a Prairie View A&M transfer who prepped at Yates High in Houston, Tex., sank two free throws to snap a 74-74 stalemate at the 2:12 mark before adding two more foul shots in the final minute to tie it at 77-77 and send things into OT.

In the overtime period, Kaylan Hughes hit the opening basket to give Jones its final lead, while Darjean answered with a pair of free throws to re-tie it. Pearl River iced the win with a 10-4 run the rest of the way.

Parker led JCJC with 22 points (two treys), including a 10-of-12 effort at the foul line, while Crystal Clay added 11 (eight rebounds, three blocks), Hughes 10 (six rebounds, three steals.

Darjean paced the Lady Wildcats with a season-high 28 points (nine rebounds, three steals), including a 14-of-16 effort from the field, while Kalisha Washington out of Murrah High in Jackson scored 23 (four treys, eight steals), Echols 11 (13 rebounds, three blocks).

The River dominated the boards with 58 rebounds (22 offensive, 36 defensive) to Jones’ 43 (19 offensive, 24 defensive), while PRCC had 34 turnovers to JCJC’s 24.

With the exception of an 8-8 deadlock just over four minutes into the men’s game, Pearl River all the way until Christopher White’s basket with 9:44 left gave the Bobcats their first lead of the night at 48-47.

JCJC never looked back, wrapping the contest with a 24-22 run to take the three-point victory.

Troy State signee Jeremy Hollimon, who finished the game with a game-high 23 points, hit back-to-back threes to put The River up 23-15 with 10:30 left in the first half before the Gulfport High recruited banged in a third trey to give the Wildcats another eight-point advantage with 6:45 left before the break.

PRCC followed with two nine-point leads before the Bobcats closed out the half with a 7-1 run to cut the Wildcats lead to 35-31 at the break.

Jones County opened the second half with a 17-12 scoring surge — capped by White’s go-ahead basket before following with its 24-22 run to take the win.

Former Pearl River Central High school standout Ashton Woodson led the Bobcats with 16 points (five rebounds), while White scored 12 (five rebounds), Leroy Fludd (six rebounds) and Bryce Jones (four assists), 10 each, Thaddeus Hall nine.

Besides Hollimon, who also boasted a six-of-eight effort at the foul and hauled in four boards, Southeastern Louisiana signee DeAngelo Coleman of South Pike High added 14 (five assists), Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., 13 (seven rebounds, seven of eight free-throw attempts), Bryant McGee of West Marion High seven (six rebounds, four blocks).

Pearl River finished with 41 boards (12 offensive, 29 defensive) to Jones’ 34 (12 offensive, 22 defensive), while the Wildcats committed 14 turnovers to the Bobcats’ 11.

’Cat Fight II is set for Monday, Feb. 17, in Ellisville.

The River returns to the hard court when it travels to Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson Monday for more South Division action at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men) before division foe Hinds visits Shivers Gym next Thursday for 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) contests.