River splits at Jones

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ELLISVILLE Emil Jones two-point basket with one second remaining propelled Pearl River ninth-ranked Wildcats to a heart-stopping 62-60 MACJC South Division basketball victory over arch-rival Jones County here Tuesday. The Lady Wildcats, on the other hand, fell to the Lady Bobcats 72-61. PRCC men, the reigning MACJC state champions, improved to 14-1 overall and remain perfect in division play at 4-0; while its women dropped to 4-8 and 1-3. JCJC men are now 6-8 and 2-2, while its women are 11-3 and 4-0. With things knotted at 23-23 with 2:05 left in the first half of the men game, the lead exchanged hands three times over the remaining time with the host Bobcats hitting the locker room sporting a slim 28-27 advantage at the intermission. In the second half, Pearl River opened with a 11-5 run in the opening minutes to go up 38-33 with 15:15 left, but Jones bounced back with a 10-4 scoring surge, capped by a pair of foul shots by Derrious Gilmore to take a one-point 43-42 edge at the 11:02 mark. The Wildcats immediately regained the lead when Emil Jones, a Troy University signee who prepped at North Forrest High School, pulled off a three-point play that kicked off a 12-6 run to build The River lead to 54-49 with 6:34 left. JCJC answered and knotted things at 54-54 off Gilmore trey at the 4:54 mark and took a two-point lead a minute later off Kelvin Nixon basket. Pedro Maciel, a Centenary University transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, hit a pair of free throw with 3:20 left. From that point, the score was tied two more times with the last stalemate at 60-60 off a bucket by Daron Bell of Bay High with a mere 12 seconds left on the clock. Emil Jones following with a game-winning lay up for the victory. He finished the night with a game-high 23 points and six rebounds, while Phillip Crawford out of Murphy High in Mobile, Ala., added 11 and hauled in a game-high 10 boards. Bell scored 10, Kentari Nettles, another Mobile recruit who prepped at LeFlore High, seven (five rebounds), Maciel five, and Vincent Gable of Picayune High and LaBaron McMillian of Pascagoula High, two each. Gilmore paced the Bobcats with 16 points, while Kadeem Fleming added 12, Brandon Givens nine, Kevin Nixon seven, Rico Rankins five, Glen Collins three, and Andrew Marshall two. Pearl River hit lackluster 37 percent (20 of 54) from the field to Jones County dismal 31.5 percent (17 of 54), while the Wildcats were one of eight (12.5 percent) from three-point range to the Bobcats two-of-10 (20 percent) effort. PRCC was 21 of 27 (77.8 percent) at the foul line, while JCJC was 24 of 27 (88.9 percent). Jones out-rebounded The River 40-36. In the women game, the Lady Bobcats led 35-29 at the break, then outscored the Lady Wildcats 37-32 in the second half to take the 11-point victory. Branita Malone out of Choctaw High in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., led PRCC with 15 points (eight rebounds); while Francheska Bowman, another Choctaw High (Fla.) recruit, added 10, hauled in five boards, and blocked an amazing seven shots. Kenyatta Epps of Yazoo City High (six rebounds) and Nicole Holder of Lumberton High also scored 10 points each, while Eugena Fry out of Wingfield High in Jackson added six, Alayna Bridges of Oak Grove high five (six rebounds), Toy Johnson of Pascagoula High three, and Samantha Gunn out of Velma Jackson High in Canton two. Keirro Frost paced the Lady Bobcats with 16 points (four rebounds), while Kianna Harris added 12, Alecia Autman (four rebounds) and Mechelle Thomas, 10 each; Tanecka Cary (six rebounds) and Alondra Rivers, nine each; and Lauren Douglas six. Pearl River hit 42 percent (21 of 50) from the field to Jones County 42.2 percent (27 of 64), while the Lady Wildcats were two of 10 (20 percent) from three-point range to the Lady Bobcats six-of-13 (46.2 percent) effort. PRCC was 17 of 26 (65.4 percent) at the foul line, while JCJC was 12 of 18 (66.7 percent). The Lady Wildcats out-rebounded the Lady Bobcats 44-30. PRCC and JCJC eye men and women rematches Thursday, Feb. 10, in Shivers Gymnasium in Poplarville. The River returns to action Thursday when MACJC South Division rival Mississippi Gulf Coast plays host in Perkinston for games at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men), then PRCC returns home to host division foe East Central Monday for games at 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men).