MOBILE, ALA.— Even in the waning seconds of Thursday’s 73-58 win at Bishop State, Scotty Fletcher was coaching like Pearl River was in a nail biter. The Lady Wildcats got off to a slow start but soon fed off his exuded energy, rewarding the coach with their best performance of the early season.
Minutes after the final buzzer, Fletcher was still vibrating with excitement.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first game, nor did we really shoot all that well in the first half tonight, but what I like about this team is these dadgum girls are so coachable,” he said. “I feel like they feed off of my fire and passion. I don’t know how to sit over there and be relaxed.”
The Lady Wildcats (2-0) cashed in on a complete team effort against Bishop State (1-2) as three different players registered double-doubles and a fourth added 10 points.
Jakia Harper (pictured) from Jackson Provine, led PRCC with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“How clutch was she?” Fletcher said.
Elexis Peyton (Jackson; Provine) was second on the team with 14 points. She also had 12 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass.
“The most key kid on our team is Elexis Peyton,” Fletcher said. “She’s a winner. We’re 9-1 with her in our starting lineup. She plays at a different level.”
Dywana Parker (Gulfport) scored 10 points with 11 rebounds. Mychala Linzy (Clinton) rounded out PRCC’s leaders with 10 points, three assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Fletcher also wanted to highlight the contributions of Maliyah Bullard (Pass Christian) and Gabby Brown (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Choctaw). Bullard scored five points with four assists and four rebounds, while Brown scored eight points with eight rebounds and two assists.
“It was a bounceback performance for (Brown),” Fletcher said. “We didn’t start her. It wasn’t anything personal, but we wanted to bring her off the bench to let her see some things and she let the game come to her.”
OFF AND RUNNING
There was a feeling out period early on Thursday as both teams traded baskets. Midway through the second quarter Harper pushed PRCC’s lead to 29-19 with a 3-point dagger in front of Bishop State’s bench to cap a 12-2 run and force the home team to call a timeout.
PRCC took a 34-24 lead into halftime. Although Bishop State cut PRCC’s lead in half midway through the third quarter the visiting Lady Wildcats soon put BSCC behind them by building a 15-point advantage. Bishop State never came close to getting back into the ballgame from that point.
“This is what we told our team: They were going to get tired — that’s what we thought — but we weren’t. I wanted them to see how well we’ve conditioned during all those workouts and practices,” Fletcher said of the team’s unrelenting energy.
Thursday marked Bishop State’s third straight contest against MACJC competition. The Green-and-Gold Lady Wildcats fell to East Central in their opener but beat Gulf Coast prior to facing PRCC.
Fletcher hopes the Lady Wildcats can ride their newfound momentum into Monday’s contest against Coastal Alabama-North at White Coliseum.
“We have a young team,” he said. “I think the more games we play the better we’re going to get because we’ll get into a different rhythm and flow outside of practice.”
Tip-off Monday is set for 5:30 p.m.