Lady Wildcats capture state tourney win

Special to the Item

FULTON — Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats were eliminated from the MACJC State Tournament underway Wednesday here at Itawamba CC with a 74-71 semi-final setback to arch-rival Jones County.

PRCC, the South No. 3 seed, is now 16- 7 overall, while JCJC, the South No. 1 seed, improved to 18-7. Both teams eye berths in next week’s Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College in Clinton.

The River eliminated North No. 2 Itawamba 63-52, while JCJC dominated North No. 4 Northwest Mississippi 91-62 in Tuesday’s quarter-finals to get the the semis.

Pearl River opened action in grand fashion with a 15-2 scoring run, but JCJC bounced back with a lopaisws 20-8 surge to take a 24-23 edge at the 5:23 mark. The Lady Wildcats answered with a 11-7 run to take at 34-31 lead at the intermission.

PRCC maintained its lead for the first seven minutes of the second half before Starla Daggan’s basket with 13:03 left gave JCJC a 41-40 edge. The Lady Bobcats stayed on top for the next four minutes until Shanta’ Echols of Sumrall High hit a bucket to knot things at 52-52 with 8:52 left.

Over the next 3:30, the game saw five lead changes. Echols sank a pair of free throws to tie it up at 63-63, then Deantra Darjean, a Prairie View A&M transfer out of Yates (Tex.) High, hit two more foul shots to tie it up at 65-65.

Five more lead changes ensued with Darjean’s basket with a mere 56.2 second left, gave The River its last lead at 69-68. The Lady Bobcats outscored the Lady Wildcats 6-3 the rest of the way to take the three-point victory and a title bout berth.

Darjean paced Pearl River with a game-high 24 points (10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, two steals), while Echols added 14 (seven rebounds), Esscence Pulliam out of Forest Hill High in Jackson 13, Tamesha Horne of Taylorsville High seven, Kalisha Washington out of Murrah High in Jackson five (four assists, two steals), Taylor Brister, an East Central CC transfer out of Lawrence County High four (seven assists), and Vamikka Smith of Murphy (Ala.) High four.

Kaylan Hughes led Jones with 18 points (four rebounds, three assists, three steasl), while Alyson Johnson contributed 15 (seven rebounds, two blocks, three steals), Clay 12 (six rebounds), Kadie Parker 11 (four assists), Latisha McCullum eight (two treys), Caitlyn Spane five (five rebounds), Starla Daggans five (five rebounds), and Precious Jefferson two.

In the men’s semi-finals, North No. 1 East Mississippi (19-5) defeated South No. 1 Jones (20-5) with a thrilling 75-69 come-from-behind victory, while North No. 1 Itawamba (14-9) faced off with South No.2 Mississippi Gulf Coast (19-5) in Wednesday’s nightcap contest (results unavailable). EMCC will face the ICC-MGCCC winner for the men’s championship at 8 p.m. Thursday.

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