2012-2013 River hoops tips off Thursday against Baton Rouge

POPLARVILLE — The 2012-2013 version of Pearl River Community College women’s and men’s basketball debuts here Thursday when Baton Rouge (La.) visits Shivers Gym.

The Lady Wildcats host the Lady Bears at 5 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats posted a 15-12 overall mark a year ago after ending their year with a 65-52 semi-final loss to East Mississippi in the Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College in Clinton. A week earlier, PRCC came within a whisker of winning an eighth MACJC championship for head coach Richard Mathis, but fell to arch-rival Mississippi Gulf Coast 61-56 in the men’s title bout at the state tournament at Itawamba CC in Fulton.

Mathis, who is entering his 22nd season as The River’s men’s coach, has won five state titles at PRCC (1994-95, 1997-98, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2009-10), as well as a sixth men’s title at Northeast Mississippi (1980-81) and a women’s championship at East Mississippi (1977-78).

Mathis, who was inducted into Pearl River’s Sports Hall of Fame earlier this fall, is 384-206 in the past 21 seasons with the Wildcats and sports a 643-294 collegiate coaching mark which includes his Northeast and East Miss Juco stints and two years at Jacksonville (Ala.) State.

The Lady Wildcats boasted an impressive 16–9 overall mark last season and made it into post-season play for the first time under head coach Toby Bush. Bush, who enters his fifth year at The River this season, saw his 2011-2012 squad fall to host Itawamba 65-61 in the MACJC tournament semi-finals before wrapping their year with a 62-48 quarter-final loss to Holmes in the Region 23 Tournament.

All told, Bush is 36-57 over the past four seasons with the Lady Wildcats.

Following Thursday’s Baton Rouge games, PRCC returns to action when it hosts MACJC non-division foe Holmes Monday at 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) before traveling to Delgado in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Nov. 8, for contests at the same game times.

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.