East Mississippi falls on the hardwood to Pearl River

Published 2:23 pm Friday, January 28, 2022

SCOOBA/POPLARVILLE — East Mississippi Community College’s basketball teams both fell to Pearl River during Thursday’s MACCC action played at the schools’ respective campus sites. The seventh-ranked EMCC Lions dropped a 72-59 home decision to the conference front-running Wildcats at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum, while the Lady Lions were edged, 45-42, by the PRCC women at Marvin R. White Coliseum.

In men’s action on the Scooba campus, the Lions faced their second title contender of the week after having their nine-game winning streak snapped Monday at No. 20 Northeast Mississippi. The Wildcats responded to the challenge by extending their win string to 10 consecutive games with the double-digit road victory over EMCC.

The visitors jumped out to an early 14-7 lead after hitting four made three-pointers during the opening five minutes of play. Following a Danny Washington basket for EMCC, the Wildcats then scored seven unanswered points to extend their advantage to 21-9 midway through the half.

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Pearl River maintained its double-digit margin for the remainder of the first half on the strength of red-hot perimeter shooting. The Wildcats drilled a total of eight treys during the half, including a banked triple by Jair Currie at the halftime buzzer that stretched their lead to 41-26.

The Lions responded after intermission with some three-point prowess of their own. Blake Butler’s second trey of the half cut the deficit to nine points (51-42) at the 12:31 mark. Two minutes later, Brandon Deravine’s three-pointer pulled EMCC to within six points (53-47).

That was as close as the Lions would get, however, as PRCC’s Jariyon Wilkens hit a baseline floater and two subsequent free throws to push the margin back up to double figures.

Falling to 12-4 overall and 5-2 in MACCC play with their second straight loss, head coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions were led by Jakorie Smith’s 14 points. Butler and Kevin Henry followed with 10 points apiece.

With their 10th straight victory dating back to Nov. 30, PRCC’s Wildcats, now 14-2 overall and 9-0 in MACCC play, were paced by twin brothers Jariyon and Jaronn Wilkens with 14 points apiece.

The EMCC men will play their third game in six days by playing host to the Trojans of Mississippi Delta in a Saturday afternoon (Jan. 29) makeup game previously postponed from Jan. 20 due to COVID-19 concerns. Saturday’s EMCC-Delta men’s contest is set for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off at Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus, and there will be no charge for admission.

EMCC’s Lady Lions initially owned the advantage during Thursday’s low-scoring women’s contest played on the Poplarville campus. Early three-pointers by Shakira Wilson and Jenessa Souza staked the visitors to a 10-4 lead four minutes into the game.

Pearl River gained control later in the opening quarter by going on a 17-2 run that was capped by consecutive three-pointers from Otashae Burrage and a subsequent trey by Tristen Washington. The Wildcats scored the last 13 points of the quarter to take a 21-12 lead into the second period.

The defensive-minded second quarter featured only two made field goals and just a dozen points scored between the two teams combined. EMCC’s Siarra Jackson proved to be a bright spot by hitting 6-of-6 free throws and a basket during the quarter to help trim the visitors’ deficit to 24-21 by halftime.

The Lady Lions reclaimed the lead in the second half by scoring the last eight points of the third quarter that included three-pointers by Souza and Wilson. DJ Williams’ basket to open the fourth-quarter scoring capped a 10-0 run that gave EMCC a 37-30 lead.

Washington provided a lift for Pearl River by hitting a pair of three-pointers, including converting a four-point play with a free throw, to knot the score at 39-39 with six minutes remaining in the game. The Wildcats then took the lead for good down the stretch on consecutive baskets by Burrage and Washington.

After Jackson’s bucket capped her career-high-tying, 19-point effort to make it a one-point (43-42) game with 1:24 left, PRCC’s Marcavia Shavers provided the game’s final margin by scoring with 12 ticks remaining. EMCC did have a last-second try for a potential game-tying basket, but Kyunna Thomas’ three-point attempt misfired at the buzzer.

Dropping to 8-8 overall and 5-3 within conference play, the EMCC women were led by Jackson’s game-high 19 points, including 11-of-12 accuracy from the charity stripe. The Ripley product also pulled down eight rebounds. Thomas added eight points and 11 boards for the Lady Lions.

Improving to 14-3 overall and 7-1 in the MACCC, the Pearl River women were paced by Washington and Burrage with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions are scheduled to play host to the Coahoma Lady Tigers on Monday evening (Jan. 31). Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.