Wildcats move to semi-finals with 70-59 victory over Tigers in opening round of regionals

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CLINTON The fifteenth-ranked Pearl River Wildcats are just two victories away from earning a first-ever berth in the NJCAA National Tournament after ending the Northeast Mississippi Tigers season with a 70-59 decision in opening-round action of the Region 23 Tournament underway in A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus here Monday.Pearl River, 22-5 overall after the win, eliminated NEMCC a week ago in first-round action of the MACJC State Tournament at Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson with a 92-83 overtime win. The Tigers wrapped their season at 10-15 overall.PRCC jumped out early and never relinquished its lead. The Wildcats built their advantage to 10 20-10 at the 9:31 mark of the first half, but the Tigers showed resiliency with an impressive 9-3 comeback run over the next four minutes to cut the Wildcats lead to 23-19. The River answered with a 9-4 run to take a 32-23 lead at the intermission.Northeast managed to cut Pearl River lead to 40-34 with 13:20 left when Jermaine Hollimon nailed his only three pointer of the game, but the Wildcats bounced back with a dominating 18-4 run over the next eight minutes to build their lead to 58-38 their largest of the game.The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 19-12 the rest of the way only to come up 12 points shy of victory.Tyler Pritchard paced NEMCC with 19 points (three treys, seven assists, six steals), while Cedric Janes added 14 (nine rebounds), Hollimon 11, John David Little six, Nick Tate three, and Charlie Easley, Cody Garrett, and Robert Wade, two a piece.Phillip Crawford out of Murphy High in Mobile, Ala., led PRCC with 30 points and 14 rebounds both game-high totals while Troy University signee Emil Jones of North Forrest High scored 15 (eight rebounds, five assists). Marshun McGee out of Bailey Magnet High in Jackson scored six (four steals), Kentari Nettles out of LeFlore High in Mobile six, Pedro Maciel, a Centenary College (La.) transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, five (nine assists); LaKendrick Maye of Prentiss High four, and Vincent Gable of Picayune High and Michael Peters of East Marion High, two each.Northeast hit 39.3 percent (22 of 56) from the field to Pearl River 50.9 percent (29 of 57) effort, while the Tigers were five of 21 (23.8 percent) from three-point range to the Wildcats two-of-seven (28.6 percent) showing. NEMCC was 10 of 11 (90.9 percent) at the foul line, while PRCC was 10 of 12 (83.3 percent).Pearl River had a lopsided advantage in rebounding with 42 boards (16 offensive, 26 defensive) to Northeast 23 (nine offensive, 14 defensive).