Lady ''Cats rally in second half to take 47-42 win over ASCC

POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College Lady Wildcats rallied back from a halftime deficit to take a 47-42 basketball victory over Alabama Southern here Thursday, avenging a season-opening road loss to the Lady Eagles Nov. 1. PRCC women, who were smacked 69-66 by ASCC on Nov. 1 in Monroeville, Ala., improved to 11-5 overall with the win, while the visitors dropped to 13-10. The Pearl River men also fell to ASCC (60-55) in their 2011-2012 opener, but did not play Thursday. With the exception of two deadlocks in the opening minutes of Thursday interstate battle, the visiting Lady Eagles led the entire first half, managing to build two nine-point leads at the 14:42 mark and a 21-12 advantage with 6:41 left before the break before PRCC responded with an impressive 6-0 run to cut ASCC lead to 21-18 at the intermission. Branita Malone out of Choctaw High in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., opened the second-half scoring with a basket then dished off an assist to Stephanie Fratesi out of Washington High in Leland who gave The River a one-point edge of her successful hook shot. Malone followed with a second basket to make it 24-21 before Alabama Southern answered with back-to-back buckets to regain the lead with just under 16 minutes left. Pearl River bounced back to tie it up twice over the ensuing four minutes. With 11:20 remaining, reserve point guard Chaquita McGee of Yazoo City High sank her only basket of the night to snap a 30-30 stalemate and the Lady Wildcats maintained their lead for the next six-plus minutes. Gabrielle Brown goal with 4:57 left gave the Lady Eagles their last lead of the game at 38-37 before the Lady Wildcats finished with a 9-4 scoring run to ice the four-point victory. Nakiya Smith paced ASCC with a game-high 14 points (five rebounds), while Deshanti Lewis added nine, Valeeta Bellamy seven, Brown six (10 rebounds), Kaysha Murry five, and Devina Moulds one (10 rebounds). Alayna Bridges of Oak Grove High led PRCC with a season-high 11 points (four rebounds), while Malone finished with 11 (nine rebounds), Fratesi and Toy Johnson of Pascagoula High (eight assists, four rebounds), five each; Shanta Echols of Sumrall High four, Daiquari Raine of Poplarville High (five rebounds) and Shana Ward, an East Central CC transfer from Carthage, three each; Samantha Gunn, a Canton native who prepped at Velma Jackson High in Jackson, and McGee, two each; and Lolecia Richardson out of Provine High in Jackson one. Alabama Southern hit 62.5 percent (five of eight) from the free throw line to Pearl River 53.3 percent (eight of 15), while the Lady Eagles shot a dismal 29.3 percent (17 of 58) from the field to the Lady Wildcats lackluster 32.1 percent (18 of 56) effort. From three-point range, ASCC was three of 16 (18.8 percent) to PRCC three-of-10 (30 percent) effort. Alabama Southern led on the boards with 46 rebounds (17 offensive, 29 defensive) to Pearl River 41 (15 offensive, 26 defensive). The River committed 18 turnovers to ASCC 23. The River hosts Copiah-Lincoln Monday, Feb. 6, with 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) MACJC South Division games, before traveling to division foe Southwest Mississippi Thursday, Feb. 9, for contests at the same game times

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