No. 2 Pearl River falls at Southwest

Published 1:54 pm Monday, February 22, 2021

SUMMIT, Miss. — It took a buzzer beater by host Southwest on Saturday to stop the No. 2 Pearl River Wildcats. Despite a gutty performance from Coach Chris Oney’s Wildcats, PRCC fell 70-69 in Summit.

The loss snapped the nation’s longest active winning streak at 33 games. 

The Wildcats (5-1 overall; 5-1 MACCC) had to turn in a gutty first half effort to take a 31-30 lead into the break. Although PRCC scored the first bucket of the game, the host Bears built a 22-14 advantage.

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Trailing by eight, the Wildcats started to chip away at the deficit. Following a timeout with 6:39 remaining in the half, Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi) converted an old fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to 24-20.

The two sides traded baskets but Wilkens nailed a 3-pointer in the corner to pull PRCC within three at 28-25 and force a Bear (6-2; 6-2) timeout.

The Wildcats kept on rolling after the timeout. Cameron Brown (Hattiesburg) hit a bucket to pull PRCC within one, 28-27. After two free throws by Southwest, Joe Cooper (Olive Branch) scored in the lane and then Brown lofted a layup through the iron with 1 minute remaining for the 31-30 lead. 

The Wildcats opened the second half in control thanks to Jariyon and Jaronn Wilkens (Biloxi). The brothers scored PRCC’s first 12 points of the frame as the Wildcats built a 43-40 lead.

The two teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the contest, constantly trading the lead.

After Southwest retook the lead 45-43, a 3-pointer from Brown beat the shot clock and pushed PRCC back ahead 46-45 with 11:17 remaining.

The Bears jumped back ahead but two free throws and a subsequent bucket on a pump fake by Jariyon Wilkens tied the game 50-50.

Trailing 55-52, Cooper came up big on consecutive plays. The guard first picked off a pass and converted an and-one to tie the game. On Southwest’s in-bound pass, Cooper hijacked the ball and scored to push PRCC back ahead 57-55.

After Southwest hit a 3, the Wilkens brothers both scored to give PRCC the 61-58 advantage.

With just under a minute remaining and trailing 66-65, Jaronn Wilkens hit both free throws for a 67-66 lead.

Southwest made 1 of 2 free throws with 15.9 seconds left and then Cooper responded by sinking two of his own to give the Wildcats a 69-67 lead with 3.7 seconds remaining.

The Bears managed to race down the floor and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to complete the upset attempt. 

The Wilkens brothers led PRCC in the scorebook. Jaronn led PRCC with 21 points, while Jariyon scored 20. Cooper added 12, while Brown finished with nine.

JaQuan Ewing (Clarksville, Tenn.; Kenwood) led the Wildcats with nine rebounds off the bench. Jaronn added eight. Brown and Cooper both had four assists, while Cooper also led PRCC with three steals.

Pearl River is back on the hardwood Monday with a 6 p.m. home meeting against East Central. 

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be general admission at home basketball games. Following guidelines set by the state of Mississippi, PRCC is limiting attendance to only players, coaches, spirit squads, the PRCC pep band, gameday personnel and family members. No Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference or Mississippi High School Activities Association passes will be accepted. 

Most games will be broadcast at but in some instances where multiple teams are at home, PRCC will also have a feed on its auxiliary channel at Fans who have Roku or Amazon Fire devices can also watch the Wildcats on their televisions by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app store.