Lady Wildcats wrap season with 62-48 loss to Holmes in Region 23 quarter-finals

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CLINTON The No. 3-seeded Pearl River Lady Wildcats wrapped their 2011-2012 basketball season with a 62-48 loss to No. 6 Holmes in the Region 23 Tournament women quarter-final action here Wednesday in A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus. PRCC finished the year at 16-9 overall, while Holmes Lady Bulldogs improved to 17-6 and now face MACJC state champ Itawamba Friday at 3 p.m. in the semi-finals. Pearl River fifth-seeded men open regional quarter-final play Thursday against fourth-seeded Holmes at 3 p.m. With the exception of an early 2-2 deadlock In the women game, the Lady Wildcats led for the first eight-plus minutes, but Kierra Gilmore drilled a three with 11:10 left before the break to knot things at 12-12 and Dierra Gilmore followed with a basket less than a minute later to give Holmes its first lead of the game. PRCC managed to regain the lead at 22-21 off a trey by Toy Johnson of Pascagoula High at the 4:25 mark, but Kierra Anderson answered with a bucket to put HCC back up by one and the Lady Bulldogs, who led 25-22 at the half, never looked back. Holmes outscored The River 37-26 in the second half to take the14-point victory. Kierra Gilmore led HCC with a game-high 18 points (three treys, five assists), while Dierra Gilmore added 14 (three treys), Louise Collins 12 (12 rebounds, two treys), Amber Clay and Kia Funchess, seven each; and Kierra Anderson four (eight rebounds). Johnson paced the Lady Wildcats with 13 points (three assists), while Shana Ward, an East Central CC transfer from Carthage, added 11; Daiquari Raine of Poplarville High six (eight rebounds), Shanta Echols of Sumrall High (six rebounds) and Samantha Gunn, a Canton resident who prepped at Velma Jackson High, five each; Quentessa Bullock of East Marion High four, Jeronda Beason of Poplarville High two , and Chaquita McGee of Yazoo City High and Lolecia Richardson out of Lanier High in Jackson, one each. Branita Malone out of Choctaw High in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., hauled in a game-high 13 boards. Pear River hit 53.6 percent (15 of 28) from the foul line to Holmes 72.7 percent (16 of 22), while the Lady Wildcats were 16 of 51 (31.4 percent) from the field to the Lady Bulldogs 19-of-64 (29.7 percent) effort. From three-point range, PRCC was one of nine (11.1 percent), while HCC was eight of 24 (33.3 percent). Holmes led on the boards with 45 rebounds (19 offensive, 26 defensive) to Pearl River 42 (14 offensive, 28 defensive), while PRCC committed 22 turnovers to HCC 16. Holmes women split with Pearl River during the regular season with a 66-59 victory Nov. 7 in Goodman before falling to the Lady Wildcats 65-57 Nov. 17 in Poplarville. In other women quarter-final action, No. 5 Meridian bombed No. 4 Jones County 92-66; No. 2 Copiah-Lincoln smashed No. 7 Baton Rouge 61-53, and No. 1 Itawamba demolished No. 8 Coahoma 77-48. The women regional semi-finals are set for Friday with Copiah-Lincoln facing Meridian at 1 p.m. and Itawamba facing Holmes at 3 p.m. After the men quarter-finals on Thursday, those semi-final matches follow the women on Friday with the East Mississippi-Jones County winner facing the Holmes-Pearl River winner at 6 p.m. and the Miss. Gulf Coast-Hinds winner facing the Southern-Shreveport-Northwest Miss. winner at 8 p.m. The women regional championship game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday followed by the men at 8 p.m.