POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College men and women basketball squads swept East Central in MACJC South Division action here Monday in Shivers Gymnasium.The ninth-ranked Wildcats, the reigning state champions, took a 77-66 victory over the visiting Warriors, while the Lady Wildcats were 66-58 winners.PRCC men improved to 15-2 overall and 5-1 in division play, while its women are now 6-8 and 3-3. ECCC men are now 8-8 and 3-3, while its women fell to 7-9 and 2-4.In the men game, the score was tied three times in the first eight minutes, but Troy University signee Emil Jones of North Forrest High hit a bucket to snap a 12-12 stalemate at the 12:43 mark and the Wildcats never looked back.The Warriors kept it close over the ensuing four minutes, even cutting The River lead to one (23-22) with 8:06 left in the half; but the Wildcats answered with a dominating 25-7 run to grab a 19-point (48-29) lead at the half.Phillip Crawford out of Murphy High in Mobile, Ala., opened the second half with a pair of baskets to build Pearl River lead to 52-29 its largest of the game and the Wildcats maintained a double-digit lead until the final minute-and-a-half of play when the Warriors pulled to within nine twice.Curtis Loving led ECCC with 14 points, while Keondre Hodges added 12 (six rebounds, two treys), Bilal Kelley 11 (five rebounds), Shelton Banks and Kegan Houston, eight each; Sharavarus Wilson seven, and Kenneth Barlow and Glenn Thomas Jr., three each.Crawford paced PRCC with a game-high 27 points (eight rebounds), while Jones scored 17 (nine rebounds), including an impressive seven-for-seven effort at the foul line. Daron Bell of Bay High (nine rebounds) and Pedro Maciel (two treys), a Centenary University transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, scored 10 each, Vincent Gable six, Marshun McGee out of Bailey Magnet High in Jackson four (six assists), and LaBaron McMillian of Pascagoula High three.East Central hit 42 percent (21 of 50) from the field to Pearl River 54.4 percent (31 of 57), while the Warriors were seven of 17 (35.3 percent) from three-point range to the Wildcats four-of-11 (36.4 percent) effort. ECCC was 18 of 30 (60 percent) at the foul line, while PRCC was 11 of 16 (68.8 percent).The Wildcats out-rebounded the Warriors with 39 boards (13 offensive, 26 defensive) to 27 (10 offensive, 17 defensive).In the women game, the Lady Warriors led for the first six minutes but Kenyatta Epps of Yazoo City High hit a basket with 13:10 left in the half to put PRCC up 7-6 and the Lady Wildcats never relinquished their lead.East Central was scoreless for over 11 minutes in the first half and Pearl River built a 22-6 lead over that time span. Diedra Hawkins pulled off a three-point play with 5:11 left before the break that kicked off an 11-10 Lady Warrior run to make it 32-17 at the intermission.ECCC trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, but managed to cut Pearl River lead to single digits in the final three minutes. Shanequa Bufkin hit a basket with 34 seconds left to cut PRCC lead to 63-58, but Francheska Bowman out of Choctaw High in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., answered with a three-point play to ice the eight-point victory.Diedra Hawkins led East Central with a game-high 28 points (four assists, five steals), while JaMonica Orton added 13 (seven rebounds), Quentinette Odom seven (six rebounds), and Kurlysha Bell, Bufkin, Zenobia Lavender, Jakiala McWilliams, and Shana Ward, two a piece.Bowman paced The River with 19 points (six rebounds, two blocked shots), while Epps added 11, Nicole Holder of Lumberton High (six rebounds, three steals) and Shandell Peters of East Marion High, seven each; Charlene Green out of South Pike High in Magnolia six (two treys), Branita Malone (eight rebounds), another Choctaw (Fla.) High recruit, Alayna Bridges of Oak Grove High, and Eugene Fry out of Wingfield High in Jackson, four a piece; and Quentessa Bullock of East Marion High and Toy Johnson of Pascagoula High, two each.East Central hit 35.1 percent (20 of 57) from the field to Pearl River 44.2 percent (23 of 52), while the Lady Warriors were three of nine (33.3 percent) from three-point range to the Lady Wildcats two-of-seven (28.6 percent) effort. ECCC was 15 of 26 (57.7 percent) at the foul line, while PRCC was 18 of 30 (60 percent).The Lady Warriors out-rebounded the Lady Wildcats with 42 boards (19 offensive, 23 defensive) to 39 (13 offensive, 26 defensive).PRCC and ECCC eye men and women rematches Thursday, Feb. 17, in Decatur.Pearl River resumes action when it travels to South Division rival Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson Monday, Jan. 31, for contests at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men), then returns home Thursday, Feb. 3, to host division foe Southwest Mississippi at 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men).
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