POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Coach Scotty Fletcher has seen a progression from his Lady Wildcats. First the Pearl River women learned to bark, then bite, he has said. Monday they feasted, routing visiting Hinds 77-35 at Marvin R. White Coliseum.
"I've seen an unbelievable amount of growth that we've made since August. These girls have grown up so much since we came back from January," Fletcher said. "This is a direct correlation to 15 girls believing in the same thing, caring for one another, playing tough, being together and being committed to our team goals.
"I still believe our best basketball is ahead of us. I don't think we've reached our ceiling. I don't think we've reached our full potential yet. We're going to keep working, keep grinding and keep getting better."
The defensive showing not only held Hinds to its lowest point total of the season, but Monday's game also marked the third time PRCC held a team under 40 points.
OFF AND RUNNING
Pearl River (14-6 overall, 7-4 MACJC) opened the game on a 16-0 run and didn't allow the Lady Bulldogs (6-13, 2-9) to score until the final two minutes of the opening quarter. Led by 11 points from Elexis Peyton (Jackson; Provine), PRCC held a commanding 24-4 advantage after the first quarter.
"I don't know if we have played a better first quarter since I've been here," said Fletcher.
The Lady Wildcats didn't let up after the first break and took a commanding 43-11 lead into halftime.
From there it continued to be all Pearl River as five Lady Wildcats finished in double figures.
"Great night all around for the Lady Wildcats," Fletcher said. "Anytime you get five girls in double figures. I was very nervous. To hold a team to 11 points in a half is very dynamic."
Powered by 11 of 12 shooting from the free throw line, Shania Wright (Clinton), pictured) led the charge with 15 points.
"I can't be more proud. Shania Wright was unbelievable from the free throw line and with her aggressiveness. You have heard me say we need a fourth post player. She was the one who stepped up tonight.
Three 3-pointers helped propel Maliyah Bullard to 11 points.
"I was thinking about changing the starting lineup, but when I saw the practice Maliyah had, I didn't think there was any way I could keep her out of it," Fletcher said. "I think by starting her that has gotten her mojo going a little bit."
Peyton, Mychala "Pooh" Linzy (Clinton) and Gabby Brown (Fort Walton Beach; Choctaw) rounded out PRCC's leaders with 13, 11 and 10 points respectively.
Peyton led PRCC with eight rebounds.
Pearl River is back in action Thursday with a home contest against archrival Gulf Coast.
Opening tip is set for 5:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on PRCCAthletics.com and can be heard on WRJW 1320 AM.