CLINTON Eighteenth-ranked Pearl River wrapped its 2010-2011 basketball season with an 89-80 loss to 12th-ranked East Mississippi in the Region 23 Tournament semi-finals here Wednesday in A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.The Wildcats, who smacked Northeast Mississippi 70-59 in Monday quarter-final round, ended the year at 23-5; while the victorious Lions earned a berth in the regional title bout Thursday at 8 p.m. against Southern-Shreveport, 68-66 victors over Itawamba immediately following the PRCC-EMCC battle. The Lions defeated East Central 81-74 in Monday opening round.Just a week ago, Pearl River eliminated East Miss in the men MACJC State Tournament semi-finals at Copiah-Lincoln CC in Wesson, taking a 61-52 victory.The Lions took control early. After the Wildcats led briefly in the opening two minutes, EMCC went up 7-5 at the 17:50 mark of the first half, putting together a dominating 31-14 scoring run to pump its lead to 36-19 over the next 14 minutes. East Miss never relinquished its lead.But The River responded with an impressive 13-5 run in the final four minutes of the half to cut East Mississippi lead to 41-32 at the break.In the second half, the Wildcats kept it close, even managing to pull to within two points at the 10:36 and 9:36 marks. In the final 1:14 of the game, the Lions were 11 of 12 at the free throw line, building their lead to 12 in the final seconds. Troy University signee Emil Jones of North Forrest High paced the Wildcats with 27 points, while hauling down six rebounds, dishing off four assists, snagging four steals, and blocking two shots; while Pedro Maciel, a Centenary College (La.) transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, added a career-high 18 points (seven assists, three steals, two treys). Phillip Crawford out of Murphy High in Mobile, Ala. (five rebounds), and LaKendrick Maye of Prentiss High (seven rebounds), 11 each; Kentari Nettles out of LeFlore High in Mobile six (three blocks), LeBaron McMillian of Pascagoula High four, and Vincent Gable of Picayune High three.Jonathan King (four steals) led East Mississippi with 27 points and a game-high 19 boards, while Deonte Alexander added 25 (six rebounds, five assists, three treys), D.J. Evans 14, Tradarrius McPhearson 11, Millaun Brown seven (13 rebounds), Donovan Walker three, and Deon Bedford two.Pearl River hit 50 percent (26 of 52) from the field to East Miss 43.5 percent (27 of 62), while the Wildcats were five of 16 (31.3 percent) from three-point range to the Lions six-of-16 (37.5 percent) effort. At the foul line, PRCC was 23 of 27 (85.2 percent), while EMCC was 29 of 38 (76.3 percent).East Mississippi dominated the boards, hauling in 44 rebounds (19 offensive, 25 defensive) to Pearl River 26 (four offensive, 22 defensive).Wednesday women semi-finals saw Copiah-Lincoln against Itawamba at 6 p.m., followed by East Mississippi against Meridian at 8 p.m. The women championship game is set for 6 p.m. Thursday.
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