No. 22 Pearl River clinches MACCC title in overtime thriller
Tyler Johnson - PRCC Intern
BOONEVILLE, Miss. — It took overtime to get it done, but the No. 22 Pearl River men's basketball team clinched its third consecutive MACCC title with an 80-70 victory over No. 21 Northeast Mississippi.
The victory over the Tigers snapped their 31-game home winning streak.
"We knew going into the game that one streak had to end," head coach Chris Oney said. "It was either our conference winning streak or their home winning streak.
Oney was excited about the accomplishment but is continuing to look ahead.
"It's exciting to get to host the tournament for the college and for the town," he said. "It will be big, but we still have one game left. One of our goals was to go 14-0, so we have to stay locked in."
FIRST HALF Pearl River (18-2 overall; 13-0 MACCC) jumped out to an early 10-6 lead to start the night.
After the Tigers (16-4; 8-3) cut the deficit to one, Earl Smith, Jr (Jackson; Lanier) drained a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 15-11.
With Northeast leading by one, J.D. Allen (Brookhaven; Wesson) nailed a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats back in front 18-16.
As the Wildcats found themselves trailing by two, Brison Waller (Cleveland, Ohio; Garfield Heights) took matters into his own hands laying the ball up and in through traffic to tie the game 20-20.
Immediately after, Dylan Brumfield picked the pocket of a Tiger player and took it coast-to-coast for the layup. The basket gave the Wildcats a 22-20 lead.
The lead was then extended as Ankerion Gross (Sardis; North Panola) nailed an open 3-pointer, pushing the Wildcat advantage to 25-22.
Gross was feeling it as the next Wildcat possession he received a pass from Cameron Brown (Hattiesburg) and proceeded to drain another 3-pointer, this one from well beyond the arc as Pearl River found itself ahead 28-22.
After a Tiger basket, Gross continued the 3-point barrage, drilling yet another to extend the Wildcat lead 31-23.
Carlous Williams (Hattiesburg; Harrison Central) gave the Wildcats a 33-23 lead after nailing two free throws.
With the Wildcats out in front 35-28, Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi) laid the ball up and in to increase the lead 37-28.
The Tigers grabbed a basket late, but Pearl River led at half 37-30.
SECOND HALF The teams traded blows for most of the second half. Pearl River took a slim 59-57 lead after Jaronn Wilkens (Biloxi) was perfect from the free-throw line.
Shortly after, Jariyon Wilkens extended the lead to 61-57 by nailing an open jumper.
Late in the game, Northeast reclaimed the lead 64-62, but Smith then went up between two defenders to grab a clutch offensive rebound and put it back up and in to tie the score, 64-64.
Both teams had a chance at the end to win it late, but neither were able to convert, sending the game to overtime.
OVERTIME Pearl River jumped out to an early overtime lead at 74-66.
Jariyon Wilkens nailed both of his free-throw attempts to put the Wildcats ahead by double-digits at 76-66.
Brown was sent to the line shortly after and nailed them both, increasing the advantage to 78-66.
The Wildcats rode the momentum to victory defeating the Tigers by a final score of 80-70.
BY THE NUMBERS Brown led the way for the Wildcats with 19 points, matching his season-high. He also finished with four rebounds and three assists.
Smith finished second on the team with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Jariyon Wilkens and Carlous Williams rounded out the Wildcats in double figures with 12 each. Jariyon finished first on the team with seven rebounds. Williams finished with four.
Brumfield led the way in the assist category with five.
UP NEXT The Wildcats return home on Thursday against Coahoma Community College. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
TICKETS Season and single-game tickets are available now at PRCCAthletics.com/tickets.
TUNE IN All home Pearl River basketball games are livestreamed for free at PRCCMedia.com/gold. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from their app stores.
Games can also be heard on WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and WRJWRadio.com.