River splits with Jones

POPLARVILLE — Pearl River split with rival Jones County in MACJC South Division men’s and women’s basketball action here Monday with the 17th-ranked Wildcats falling 76-74 in overtime, while the Lady Wildcats avenged Jan. 24's loss to the Lady Bobcats with a convincing 83-71 victory.
            PRCC’s men, who clinched the South Division championship last week for hosting rights to Feb. 25-28's (Monday through Thursday) MACJC State Tournament, dropped to 18-4 overall and 8-3 in league play; while its women, who are out of the post-season tournament chase, improved to 6-12 and 4-7. JCJC’s men are now 16-6 and 7-4, while its women fell to 10-9 and 5-6.
            The top four finishers in the North and South divisions earn berths in the state tournament.
            Pearl River wraps its regular season Thursday at Copiah-Lincoln, whose women are division champs, in Wesson; while Jones hosts South foe East Central in Ellisville the same night.
            In the women’s game, the score was tied 12 times and the lead exchanged hands four times in the first half. After things were knotted up four times in the first six-plus minutes, Daiquari Raine of Poplarville High hit a basket to snap an 11-11 stalemate to give Pearl River its second lead of the game at the 10:52 mark; but the Lady Bobcats’ immediately answered with a three-point play by Kaylan Hughes to regain the lead.
            That kicked off a 19-14 JCJC scoring run over the next eight minutes to give the Lady Bobcats a 35-27 lead — their largest of the night. PRCC responded with 13 unanswered points to take a 40-35 advantage at the intermission.
            In the second half, The River held Jones scoreless for the first four minutes while scoring six to pump its lead to 46-35 and the Lady Wildcats never looked back.
            JCJC cut PRCC’s lead to 46-39 over the next two minutes, but that was as close as it would get. Rebekah Harwell out of M.C. Perry High in Iwakuni, Japan, hit a bucket with 1:01 left to give Pearl River its largest lead of the game — 81-66.
            Four Lady Bobcats finished in double figures, led by Lathisha McCullum’s 16 points (eight assists, three steals, four rebounds); while Zana Riges scored 15 (two treys), including a five-of-five effort at the foul line. Precious Jefferson added 13, Caitlyn Spane (eight rebounds) and Kiara Speed (three treys, eight rebounds, three assists), 11 each; and Hughes five.
            Kalisha Washington out of Murrah High in Jackson paced Pearl River with a game-high 25 points (six assists, four rebounds, three steals), while Valescia Dixon of East Marion High scored 14 (game-high 10 rebounds) via an impressive six-of-nine effort from the field. Jeronda Beason of Poplarville High scored nine (nine assists), Francheska Bowman out of Choctaw High in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. (seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks), and Raine (six rebounds, two steals), eight each; Raven Callaway out of Daegu High in Daegu, South Korea, four; and Mia Coleman of Mendenhall High (three assists), Joy Grimsley of Petal High, and Lolecia Richardson out of Provine High in Jackson, two a piece.
            Pearl River and Jones County hit identical percentiles at the foul line at 68.4(13 of 19 each), while the Lady Wildcats were 34 of 60 (56.7 percent) from the field to the Lady Bobcats’ 26-of-66 (39.4 percent) effort. From three-point range, PRCC was two of five(40 percent); while JCJC was six of 20 (30 percent).
            Both squads hauled in 36 rebounds each with Jones’ 18 offensive and 18 defensive boards, while The River had 11 offensive and 25 defensive. PRCC committed 24 turnovers to JCJC’s 22.
            In the men’s game, Jones County never led in the first half, but managed to tie it up three times. JCJC’s Tanner Wozniak banged in his first of four treys in the game to knot things at 7-7 at the 15:33 mark, but PRCC bounced back with a 17-9 scoring run over the next seven minutes to take a 24-16 lead — its largest of the game — with 8:28 left before the break.
            The Bobcats answered with a 10-2 surge to tie it up at 26-26 at the 5:08 mark before the Wildcats closed out the half with a 9-8 run to take a 35-34 at the intermission.
            In the second half, Jones grabbed its first lead of the contest off J.J. Bolton’s opening bucket. From that point, the score was tied four times and the lead exchanged hands four times before regulation ended with things knotted at 69-69 to send things into overtime.
            In the OT period, the Bobcats went up 71-69 in the opening minute off a basket by Donta Pittman, while the Wildcats managed to take a one-point lead — 74-73 — at the 1:38 mark off a three-point play by Xavian Rimmer, an Alcorn State transfer who prepped at Piney Woods School near Jackson. The score was tied twice in OT.
            Detrick Davis hit a bucket with 24 seconds left to give JCJC the lead for good. Bolton’s sank a foul shot for the game’s final point with 8.4 left.
            Pittman led Jones with 17 points, while Bolton scored 16 (10 rebounds, six assists, two treys), Wozniak 13 (four treys on six attempts), Cory Jackson 11 (10 rebounds), Detrick Davis eight, Emmanuel Davis five, Desmond Stanback four, and Darris McClendon two.
            Rimmer paced The River with 17 points (two treys, four assists), while Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., scored 11 (six rebounds, two steals); Frank Snow, a San Angelina CC (Tex.) transfer from Wellington, Fla., 10 (seven rebounds, two blocks); DeAngelo Coleman out of South Pike High in Magnolia nine, Jeremy Hollimon of Gulfport High eight, DeMondre Harvey of Minden (La.) High six (seven rebounds), Daniel Grieves, a U.S. Air Force Academy transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, five; Josh Carpenter of Oak Grove High (three assists) and Devontai Foye of Hattiesburg High (four rebounds), three each; and Rakeem Esco of Canton High two.
            Pearl River hit 40.3 percent (25 of 62) from the field to Jones County’s 30-of-61 (49.2 percent) effort, while both teams hit 68.4 percent at the foul line — Wildcats 19 of 26, Bobcats 10 of 16. From three-point range, PRCC was five of 22 (22.7 percent), while JCJC was six of 18 (33.3 percent).
            Both squads finished with 37 rebounds each — Wildcats 20 offensive, 17 defensive; Bobcats 17 offensive 20 defensive — while The River committed 16 turnovers to Jones’ 15.
            Pearl River split with Jones County in previous meetings played Jan. 24 in Ellisville with the Wildcats taking an 83-79 double-overtime victory, while the Lady Wildcats fell 74-70.
            Game times for Thursday’s games at Co-Lin are 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men).

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