River sweeps Southwest

            POPLARVILLE — Pearl River swept Southwest Mississippi in women’s and men’s MACJC South Division basketball action here Thursday with the Lady Wildcats pulling off a last-second 56-55 victory, while the Wildcats were 71-62 winners over a talented Bear squad.
            Point guard Chaquita McGee banged in a three-pointer with .9 seconds left to propel PRCC’s women to their one-point win and improve to 7-7 overall and 2-2 in division play, while its men fought off a late SMCC rally to improve to 12-1 and 4-0. SMCC’s women dropped to 8-6 and 1-3, while its men are now 7-7 and 1-3.
            In the women’s game, Pearl River struggled early offensively, managing a mere four points in the opening eight minutes. Meanwhile, Southwest built a 14-4 lead at the 12:25 mark before Francheska Bowman, a sophomore center who prepped at Choctaw High in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., hit a bucket with 11:41 before the half to kick off a 6-1 Lady Wildcat run in just over a minute to cut SMCC’s lead to 15-10.
            The Lady Bears answered with a 17-10 scoring surge to grab their biggest lead of the half — 32-20 — in the final seconds before Jeronda Beason of Poplarville High hit a buzzer-beater to cut Southwest’s lead to 10 at the intermission.
            SMCC grabbed a pair of 10-point leads in the opening minutes of the second half before PRCC cut its advantage to single digits off a Bowman basket with 16:20 left. The Lady Bears grabbed its final 10–point advantage — 46-36 — off a pair of free throws by Katrina Littlepage at the 5:47 mark, while the Lady Wildcats answered with a dominating 13-3 scoring run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to tie it up at 49-49.
            Southwest led 49-43 with 3:15 left, but a pair of treys over a 36-second span by McGee and Beason marked the first of three stalemates in the final 2:20. Back-to-back baskets by Daiquari Raine of Poplarville High tied it 51-51 and put PRCC up 53_51 with 56 seconds remaining before a bucket by Cassie Berry and a pair of free throws by Littlepage put the Lady Bears up 55-53 with 8.4 seconds left in the game.
            McGee’s game-winning trey followed.
            Berry led SMCC with a game-high 14 points, while April Levy added 11, Littlepage eight (five rebounds, four assists), Fredrikah Wilson six (seven rebounds, three steals), Alexis Avery and Chicurial Hill, four each; Milesha McNulty and Tee Myers (eight rebounds), three each; and Elayne Robinson two.
            McGee, who prepped at Yazoo City High, paced PRCC with 12 points (two treys, three assists); while Beason scored nine (three assists), Kalisha Washington out of Murrah High in Jackson nine (five assists), Bowman eight (six rebounds), Valescia Dixon of East Marion High (six rebounds) and Raine (five rebounds), six each; Rebekah Harwell out of M.C. Perry High in Iwakuni, Japan, four; and Joy Grimsley of Petal High two.
            Pearl River hit 50 percent (seven of 14) from the free-throw line to Southwest’s 66.7 percent (16 of 24), while the Lady Wildcats were 23 of 61 (37.7 percent) from the field to the Lady Bears’ 19-of-46 (41.3 percent) effort. From three-point range, PRCC was three of 12 (25 percent), while SMCC was one of three (33.3 percent).
            Southwest had a slight advantage on the boards with 38 rebounds (15 offensive, 23 defensive) to The River’s 36 (19 offensive, 17 defensive), while the Lady Wildcats committed 19 turnovers in the game to the Lady Bears’ 21.
            In the men’s game, the score was tied twice in the opening six minutes before DeAngelo Coleman out of South Pike High in Magnolia hit a basket with 13:50 left before to break to kick off a dominating 17-6 run and build the Wildcats’ lead to 29-18 — their largest of the first half — at the 4:07 mark. Xavian Rimmer, an Alcorn State transfer who prepped at Piney Woods School near Jackson, accounted for nine points during the run, including back-to-back three-pointers over a 44-second span.
            Southwest answered with an 8-4 scoring surge to cut Pearl River’s lead to 33-26 at the intermission.
            The Wildcats opened the second half with Rimmer scoring seven in the opening minute-and-a-half to pump their lead to 12 before building four 15-point advantages over the next four minutes.
            With The River up 53-48 at the 11:45 mark, the Bears showed resiliency with an impressive 22-11 scoring run to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 62-60 with 2:22 remaining. Coleman responded with a trey to kick off a 9-2 River run to ice the game.
            Mark Bridgewater led SMCC with 15 points, including five three-pointers, while Deville Smith scored 13 (six assists), Devin Flowers 11 (seven rebounds), Corey Williams nine, Donovan Ross eight, and Deione Weeks six.
            Rimmer paced PRCC with 20 (three treys, four assists), while Coleman (five rebounds, two treys) and DeMondre Harvey of Minden (La.) High added 10 each. Frank Snow, a San Angelia CC (Tex.) transfer who prepped at Wellington (Fla.) High scored nine (11 rebounds, two blocks), Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., eight; Daniel Grieves, a U.S. Air Force Academy transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, six; Jeremy Hollimon of Gulfport High four, and Josh Carpenter of Oak Grove High (five rebounds) and Nick’Laus Warren out of Murrah High in Jackson, two each.
            Pearl River hit 73.7 percent (14 of 19) from the free-throw line to Southwest’s 66.7 percent (eight of 12), while the Wildcats were 26 of 59 (44.1 percent) from the field to the Bears’ 23-of-59 (39 percent) effort. From three-point range, PRCC was five of 18 (27.8 percent), while SMCC was eight of 24 (33.3 percent).
            The River dominated the boards with 47 rebounds (22 offensive, 25 defensive) to Southwest’s 27 (12 offensive, 15 defensive), while the Wildcats committed 15 turnovers to the Bears’ nine.
            Pearl River and Southwest eye South Division women’s and men’s rematches Monday, Feb. 11, in Summit.
            PRCC’s men return to action Saturday when they host the Spring Hill College (Ala.) junior varsity in Shivers Gym at 3 p.m. before both River squads travel to South Division rival Jones County in Ellisville Thursday, Jan. 24, for 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men) contests.

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