Wildcats grab semi-final berth with 72-64 win over Jaguars in Region 23 quarter-finals

 Jeremy Hollimon    CLINTON --- The No. 6 seeded Pearl River Wildcats grabbed a semi-final berth with a convincing 72-64 victory over No. 3 Southern-Shreveport Thursday in men's quarter-final action of the Region 23 Tournament underway here in A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
    PRCC will now face No. 7 Northwest Mississippi, 99-82 victors over No. 2 and MACJC champ Itawamba an earlier Thursday contest, at 8 p.m. in the semi-finals.
    The River improved to 17-7 overall, while the losing Jaguars ended their season at 15-7 and a 14-game win streak come to an abrupt end.
    Pearl River held Southern-Shreve scoreless for the first five-plus minutes of the game and the Jags never recovered. The Wildcats jumped out to a 13-0 advantage before Mark Gray sank the Jags first basket at the 14:27 mark to kick off a 13-7 scoring run to cut PRCC's lead to 20-15, but the Wildcats answered with a 6-0 surge over the next four minutes to build its lead to 28-15. S-S outscored PRCC 13-7 the rest of the way to pull to within seven --- 35-28 --- at the intermission.
    Pearl River opened the second half with a 16-8 run to build its lead to 51-36 --- its largest of the game --- before Southern-Shreveport responded with an impressive 16-4 comeback surge to pull within three --- 55-52 --- with 6:30 remaining. The Jaguars managed to tie it up twice at 61-61 at the 2:35 mark and 63-63 at the 1:53 mark, but that was as close as they would get. The Wildcats ended the contest with a 9-1 run to take the eight-point victory.
    Troy State (Ala.) signee Jeremy Hollimon of Gulfport High paced The River with a game-high 20 points (four assists), while Southeastern Louisiana signee DeAngelo Coleman of South Pike High added 13 (five assists), Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., 10 (five rebounds), Devontai Foye of Hattiesburg High eight, including a six-for-six effort at the foul line, Bryant McGee of West Marion High (three steals) and Quintarius Porter, out of Forest Hill High in Jackson, six each, Lester Crosby of Franklinton (La.) High five (five rebounds), and Sullivan Bell of Picayune High, Irishman Bowie of Morton High, and Joshua Johnson out of Morton High in Monroe, La., two a piece.
    Gray (seven rebounds, three blocks) and Patrick Smith (five rebounds), and Yettra Specks (four assists) led the Jaguars with 12 points a piece, while Donald Francis scored 11 (six rebounds, five assists), Telvin Marshall six (10 rebounds, three steals), LaDarius Reed four, and D'Andra Martin two.
    Pearl River hit 45.1 percent (23 of 51) from the field to Southern-Shreveport's 40.4 percent (23 of 57), while the Wildcats were one of nine (11.1 percent) from three-point range to the Jags two-of-20 effort (10 percent). PRCC was an impressive 25-29 (86.2 percent) at the foul line to S-S's 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) showing.
    Southern-Shreve hauled in 40 rebounds (22 offensive, 18 defensive) to The River's 30 (10 offensive, 20 defensive, while the Wildcat committed 14 turnovers to the Jaguar's 22.
    In other men's quarter-final action, No. 1 Jones County smashed No. 8 Southwest Mississippi 109-83, while No. 5 East Mississippi nipped No. 4 Mississippi Gulf Coast 69-68. JCJC faces EMCC at 6 p.m. Friday in the semi-finals.
    Friday's action kicks off with women's semi-final action. Region No. 5 Copiah-Lincoln, 63-58 winners over Miss. No. 1 Jones County in Wednesday's quarter-finals, faces Region No. 5 Baton Rouge (La.), 80-79 victors over Miss. No. 3 Meridian, at 12 noon, while Miss. No. 4 Pearl River, 84 winners over La. No. 1 LSU-Eunice, faces Miss. No. 2 Southwest Mississippi, 72-64 winners over Region No. 6 East Mississippi, at 2 p.m.
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March 5-8 / Mississippi College / Clinton, MS
No. 3 Southern-Shreveport (La.) vs. No. 6 Pearl River
Men's Quarter-Final Game
Halftime: 35-28 (PRCC)
Second Half: 37-36 (PRCC)
PEARL RIVER (17-7): Jeremy Hollimon 20 (4 assists), DeAngelo Coleman 13 (5 assists), Kaven Bernard 10 (5 RB), Devontai Foye 8 (6 of 6 FT, 3 steals), Bryant McGee 6 (3 steals), Quintarius Porter 6, Lester Crosby 5 (5 RB), Sullivan Bell 2, Irishma Bowie 2, Joshua Johnson 1.
SOUTHERN-SHREVEPORT (15-7): Mark Gray 12 (7 RB, 3 blocks), Patrick Smith 12 (5 RB), Yettra Specks 12 (4 assists), Donald Francis 11 (6 RB, 5 assists), Telvin Marshall 6 (10 RB, 3 steals), LaDarius Reed 4, D'Andra Martin 2.
FIELD GOALS: S-S – 23 of 57 (40.4%), PRCC – 23 of 51 (45.1%).
THREE POINTERS: S-S – 2 of 20 (10.0%), PRCC – 1 of 9 (11.1%).
FREE THROWS: S-S – 16 of 26 (61.5%), PRCC – 25 of 29 (86.2%).
REBOUNDS: S-S – 40 (22 offensive, 18 defensive), PRCC – 30 (10 offensive, 20 defensive).
TURNOVERS: S-S – 22, PRCC – 14.
EARLIER QUARTER-FINAL GAMES: No. 1 Jones County 109, No. 8 Southwest Miss. 83; No. 5 East Miss. 69, No. 4 Miss. Gulf Coast 68; No. 7 Northwest Miss. 99, No. 2 and MACJC champ Itawamba 82.
UP NEXT: Pearl River's men will now face Northwest Friday at 8 p.m. in the men's semi-final round, East Mississippi faces Jones County at 6 p.m. Women's semi-finals start at 12 noon Friday with Copiah-Lincoln facing Baton Rouge, followed by Pearl River versus Southwest Mississippi at 2 p.m. Friday's semi-final winners are in the championship round (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) Saturday.

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