River dominates Delta in MACJC title bout

            POPLARVILLE — Pearl River’s Wildcats gave Shivers Gymnasium an historical send off here Thursday with a lopsided 81-60 demolition of Mississippi Delta in the men’s championship game of the MACJC State Tournament here Thursday.
            South No. 1 PRCC, the tournament host, never trailed in the final game played in the 65-year-old facility that has housed River basketball since Hurricane Katrina destroyed Marvin R. White Coliseum in August 2005. Construction of the “new” $8.9 million White Coliseum in underway and will be ready for next season.
            “This one is special, because of where it was played,” said Wildcat head coach Richard Mathis, who now has six titles at Pearl River, eight overall. “To win it on our home court, in the last game in this old gym, is a good way to send it (Shivers) out.”
            Twentieth-ranked Pearl River improved to 22-4 enters the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament next week (Wednesday through Saturday) at Mississippi College in Clinton as the top seed. North No. 3 Delta, which will also compete in the regionals, dropped to 11-3.
            Just over four minutes into the game, the Wildcats went up by 12-2 for their first double digit lead and followed with a 26-13 scoring run to grab their largest lead of the first half — 38-15 — with 4:30 left before the intermission.
            Point guard DeAngelo Coleman started and ended the run with two of his three three-pointers on the night. The Trojans ended the half with a 9-4 scoring surge to cut PRCC’s lead to 42-24 at the break.
            Pearl River built its lead to as many as 30 points in the second half when Xavian Rimmer’s basket made it 81-51 with just under four minutes left for the Wildcats’ last points of the game. Delta ended the contest with a 9-0 run.
            “We played solid defense all night and shot the ball better than I think we have all season,” Mathis said. “We drove the land, then were able to kick it out and out guys were hitting open jump shots.
            “Everbody contributed.”
            James Evans led the Trojans with 15 points (game-high 15 rebounds, four blocked shots), while Anthony McDonald scored 12 (four treys), Keymond Crawford 10, Marquarius Boddie six, Andre Armstrong, Jaimiason Hadley, Johnathan Howard, and Nathaniel Watkins, three a piece; Johnny Rucker and Marcus Springs, two each; and Jumelle Hall one.
            Coleman (three treys, five rebounds, four assists) out of South Pike High in Magnolia, and Rimmer (five rebounds, six assists, two steals, six-for-six effort at the foul line), an Alcorn State transfer who prepped at Piney Woods School near Jackson, led the Wildcats with 15 points each; while Jeremy Hollimon of Gulfport High scored 12 (four treys), DeMondre Harvey of Minden (La.) High 11 (four rebounds), Daniel Grieves, a U.S. Air Force Academy transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, 10 (two treys, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals); Frank Snow, a San Angelina CC (Tex.) transfer from Wellington, Fla., eight (10 rebounds, five blocks); Josh Carpenter of Oak Grove High seven (three assists), and Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., three.
            Pearl River hit 46 percent (29 of 63) from the field to Mississippi Delta’s 33.9 percent (21 of 62). From three-point range, PRCC hit 45.8 percent (11 of 24) to MDCC
s 31.8 (seven of 22), while the Wildcats were 12 of 14 (85.7 percent) at the foul line to the Trojans’ 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) effort.
            Both teams finished with 40 rebounds each with The River snatching 14 offensive and 26 defensive boards to Delta’s 19 offensive and 21 defensive, while PRCC committed 11 turnovers to MDCC’s 16.
            In the women’s championship game, South No. 1 Copiah-Lincoln pounded North No. 3 Northeast Mississippi 64-46. CLCC and NEMCC will participate in the regionals next week.

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