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.
LEADING THE WAY
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.