Pearl River pulls out a come-from-behind win at Baton Rouge
Published 8:58 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023
The No. 18 Pearl River men’s basketball team played from behind most of their game at Baton Rouge but came up big to walk out of Bonne Sante Wellness Center with a 61-57 road win Monday night.
“Tonight, we showed the toughness it is going to take to have a special season,” Pearl River head coach Chris Oney said. “Hopefully, we can follow that energy and follow that motivation to carry us the rest of the season.”
Baton Rouge (2-3 overall) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on the visiting Wildcats (3-1). Austin Green (Sickerville, N.J.; Timber Creek Regional) put PRCC on the scoreboard with a putback on a Wildcat miss, 4-2. After a free throw by Ezereke Dawson, Jr. (Plant City, Fla.), Green put the Wildcats up by one after hitting a pair of free throws. Green was fouled after taking a well-placed pass by David Combest, Jr. (Hattiesburg; Forrest County) to beat the Baton Rouge press and was fouled at the basket, 5-4.
Green, the recipient of another crisp Combest assist, had an emphatic dunk to put PRCC ahead, 7-6.
Kam Beverly (Jackson; Jackson Academy) entered the scoring column as he fought for a hard rebound, found his footing, and laid the ball in from under the basket, 17-18 Bears.
With the Bears holding onto a three-point lead, Dawson brought the Wildcats within one with a great post. Dawson drove under the basket, pumped, and finished on the opposite side of the rim for a dunk, 21-20. Green gave The River a 22-21 lead on the ensuing possession after fighting through pressure in the paint and laying the ball in.
Trailing 29-23, the Wildcats would not go quietly into the night. Combest, Jr. hit a floater from the left side of the basket, and a 3-pointer from behind the arc by Cedquavious Hunter (Como; North Panola) pulled the Wildcats within three, 32-29. Dorien Goodman (Dallas, Texas; Lancaster) made two free throws to bring PRCC within one, 32-31, with less than a minute in the half. Baton Rouge made a free throw to close out the first half at 33-31.
Green tied the game early in the second half, 33-33, with a shot off the glass from under the basket. Both teams traded baskets, with Dawson tying the game at 35 a piece after receiving a nice pass in the lane and attacking the rim for a basket.
PRCC grabbed their first lead of the half on a 3-pointer from the right side of the arc by Hunter, 38-37.
Baton Rouge took advantage of some Wildcat miscues, grabbed the momentum, and built a six-point Bear lead, 44-38. Pearl River cut the lead to four after free throws by Gooden and Hunter, 44-40. Combest closed it to a two-point game, 44-42, with a hard drive to the basket over a Bear defender.
After a Bear timeout with 8:38 remaining in the game, Baton Rouge increased the lead to four again with a layup.
Combest and Dawson worked together to bring the deficit back to two points, 46-44. Dawson played the ball to Combest inside, who then found Combest with a perfect pass as he cut through two defenders for the layup.
Baton Rouge was nursing a one-point lead, 50-49, when Hunter was fouled and knocked down both free throws to give PRCC the lead, 51-50. Hunter countered a Baton Rouge field goal with a perfect midrange jump shot that hit nothing but net, 53-52.
With fifty seconds remaining in the contest, Baton Rouge, holding onto a two-point lead, missed the back end of a pair of free throws, 57-55.
Green followed with a strong drive through the lane, getting fouled hard while in the air and making the basket. Green converted the free throw for a three-point play, giving PRCC a one-point lead, 58-57.
Smothering Wildcat defense forced Baton Rouge into a turnover, and Hunter was fouled with 4.2 seconds remaining. Hunter calmly made both free throws, pushing the Wildcat lead to three, 60-57.
After forcing another Baton Rouge turnover, Combest was fouled on the ensuing possession and sank a free throw with less than a second on the clock to preserve a PRCC come-from-behind victory, 61-57.
LEADING THE WAY
Green led all Wildcats with 19 points. Hunter followed with 17; and Dawson, Jr. tallied 12.
“It was a complete team effort,” Oney said. “Obviously, we need Austin (Green) and DaeDae (Hunter) to step up. The other guys did a tremendous job picking up the slack and playing off these guys.”
The Wildcats return home and host Southern Union to open the two-day PRCC Classic. Tipoff inside Marvin R. White Coliseum is 7:30 p.m. The game will be livestreamed at PRCCMedia.com/gold.
All home Pearl River basketball games are livestreamed for free at PRCCMedia.com/Gold. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app stores.
Games will also be available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320 AM and 106.9 FM. The radio broadcast is also available at WRJWRadio.com and by downloading the WRJW app.
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2023-24. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.