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Pearl River shakes off rust, wins return to action

By Patrick Ochs

PRCC Sports Information

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River women’s basketball team shook off some rust from their lengthy layoff to up-end Hinds 57-44 inside Marvin R. White Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

The game marked the first time in 30 days the Wildcats have played because of various postponements.

“The biggest thing I want to praise is their heart and determination. They played awesome as a team,” Pearl River coach Scotty Fletcher said. “They were obviously tired but never gave up and believed in each other. They showed a lot of heart. Those are the kind of girls you want wearing Pearl River across their chest.

“Tonight, they represented our institution the right way.”

The Wildcats (3-3 overall; 3-3 MACCC) looked in control early Saturday. After HCC opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, the Wildcats scored 11 unanswered for an 11-3 advantage. After Marcavia Shavers (Biloxi) scored on a jumper, Bryanna Taylor (Terry) converted a putback. Brandy Scott (Hammond, La.) later scored on a nice delay play where she drove to the basket, slowed down like she was going to shoot and then dashed to the basket uncontested. 

Tymesha Reed (Meridian) later nailed a 3-pointer for a 14-8 lead. Alesha Temple (Oak Grove) scored on a putback for the final bucket of the quarter.

The Wildcats continued to play well early in the second quarter, building a 22-12 advantage on two baskets from Keshunti Nichols (Pearl) sandwiched around a Reed fastbreak layup.

The Bulldogs took control of the remainder of the quarter, outscoring PRCC 13-3 for a 25-25 tie.

Despite being tied, Fletcher said he didn’t have any special message for his Wildcats.

“I didn’t really say a magic word,” he said. “It was more just reminding them they’re champions, reminding them they’re winners and reminding them they can do this. It really had a first game feel. 

“Everything about tonight was like it was the first game in November — or January in the case of this season.”

Fletcher’s subtle approach paid off as PRCC roared past Hinds 44-28. Leading 30-27, Nichols spun in the lane and converted an and-one. Reed then found Shavers all alone under the basket and threw a dart of a pass for an easy layup and the 35-27 lead.

Following a HCC free throw the Wildcats reeled off nine unanswered points. Ra’nae Tumblin (New Orleans; Booker T. Washington) nailed a 3-pointer to start the run. 

Although HCC (0-8, 0-8) scored the final six points of the frame, PRCC took a 44-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

The two teams traded baskets for large stretches of the fourth quarter but PRCC did enough to maintain the double-digit lead.

“I’m really proud of their heart, pride and determination,” Fletcher said. 

Scott and Taylor led PRCC in scoring with 12 and 11 points respectively. Nichols pulled in a team-high nine rebounds, followed by eight from Shavers.

Kassie Dolliole (New Orleans; Booker T. Washington) wasn’t one of the team’s statistical leaders, but Fletcher made a point to applaud her performance.

The Wildcats are back on the hardwood Monday against Gulf Coast. Opening tip is set for 6 p.m. The game can be watched at PRCCMedia.com/gold.