Pearl River remains undefeated with a win at Coastal Alabama-North
Richard Gleber - PRCC Digital Media
POPLARVILLE, Miss. – The No. 13 Pearl River women's basketball team cruised to a 79-49 win at Coastal Alabama-North on Wednesday. Taylor Johnson-Matthews (Cleveland, Ohio; Charles F. Brush) had a season-high 30 points, and Avery Young (Iota, La.) added 14 more as the Wildcats move to 4-0 on the regular season.
"Coastal Alabama-North is a well-coached team. It was a tough environment; going on the road and getting a win is tough." PRCC head coach Scotty Fletcher said. "I thought our depth over a forty-minute game allowed us to get out, run, execute on both ends and come out with a road win.
"When they made their runs, we were able to get key stops and answered and executed on the offensive end."
The Wildcats (4-0 overall) opened the contest with a 6-0 run that helped set the pace for the night. Johnson-Matthews opened the scoring off an inbound pass from Samya Brooks (Pontotoc); Johnson-Matthews received the inbound and knocked down a jump shot from the elbow, 2-0. Not to be outdone, Young added the following four points. After converting two free throws, Young stole the ball at half-court, drove to the basket, and scored on a layup, 6-0.
After a Coastal Alabama-North (4-3 overall) 3-pointer cut the lead in half, 6-3, Johnson-Matthews knocked down a 3-pointer of her own to bring the lead back to six, 9-3. Young increased the lead to nine after Alexis Arrington (Terry) stepped in front of a Coyote pass; Arrington found Young open for an easy floater off the backboard, 11-3.
Young was again the beneficiary of tough Wildcat defense. Hama'ya Fielder (Philadelphia, Miss.; Neshoba Central) created a turnover in the Coyote defensive end. Kamren Edwards (Jackson, Miss.; Murrah) picked up the loose ball and found Young open for a 3-pointer, 14-5. After a Coyote miss, Young switched from a shooter to a facilitator, hitting an open Fielder for a layup off a Wildcat fast break, 16-5.
Johnson-Matthews scored on another layup to give the Wildcats a 13-point lead, 23-10.
The Coyotes fought back and closed the gap to eight at the end of the first quarter, 24-16.
Brooks slowed the Coyotes momentum at the beginning of the second quarter with a big defensive rebound. In the ensuing offensive possession, Johnson-Matthews took the ball at the top of the key, drove to the basket, and was fouled. Johnson-Matthews converted both free throws to give the Wildcats a 10-point lead, 26-16.
Following a Coyote basket, which reduced the Wildcat lead to eight, 26-18, Mikayla Riley (Tupelo) drove the lane and laid a shot off the glass to increase the lead back to 10 points, 28-18.
With 2:13 left in the first half, Riley took a pass from Freeman at the logo, drove through the paint, and laid the ball in for two, 33-18.
Arrington closed out the scoring in the first half, hitting a floater in the short corner with seven seconds left, 39-22.
The Coyotes opened the third quarter with a five-point run, 39-27. Johnson-Matthews stopped the Coyote run with a floater in the paint, 41-27, at the 8:53 mark.
The Coyotes had another mini run, scoring four straight points, cutting the lead to ten, 41-31. Johnson-Matthews responded again with a drive in the lane, resulting in a layup, increasing the Wildcat lead to twelve, 43-31.
Holding onto a nine-point lead, 43-34, Johnson-Matthews drove to the basket and hit the front of the rim. Johnson-Matthews pulled down the rebound, making a layup and getting fouled on the play. After hitting her free throw, the Wildcats led 46-34. Following a Coyote miss, Arrington received the ball from Freeman at the elbow and flew past her defender for a layup, 48-34, forcing the Coyotes into a timeout with 3:06 left in the period.
The Wildcats closed out the quarter with a 55-40 advantage.
Picking up where she left off in the first half, Young gathered the ball at the top of the key, drove the paint's left side, and split three defenders for a layup, 58-42.
Johnson-Matthews gave the Wildcats a 13-point lead with a drive through the lane, hitting a layup off the glass, 60-47. Fielder added to the advantage with a jumper from the high post off an assist by Johnson-Matthews, 62-47.
The Wildcats extended the lead to 19 points after Fielder drove the lane and dished the ball to Freeman, who knocked down a three from the corner, 66-47. Freeman hit another three from the same spot moments later to extend the lead to 22 points, 69-47.
Johnson-Matthews scored the next four points to bring the score to 73-47. First, Johnson-Matthews fought for a rebound off a PRCC miss, elevated over two defenders, banked the shot off the glass, and followed with a pull-up jumper from the low post.
Edwards followed her own shot for a putback to give the Wildcats a 77-48 advantage, and Janiah Caples (Vicksburg) found Audria Houston (Oxford; Tupelo) on a fast break to close out the Wildcat scoring.
BY THE NUMBERS
Johnson-Matthews scored 30 points to lead all Wildcat scorers.
"I thought Taylor Johnson-Matthews was the best player on the floor tonight, and it showed," Coach Fletcher said. "She was the player we needed her to be, and we know she is capable of being."
Avery Young contributed 14 points for Pearl River.
The Wildcats host Southern University-Shreveport in the Wildcat Classic on Saturday. Tipoff inside Marvin R. White Coliseum is 2 p.m. and will be livestreamed at www.PRCCMedia.com/gold.
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 will also be available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320 AM and 106.9 FM. The radio broadcast is also available at WRJWRadio.com and by downloading the WRJW app.
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2023-24. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.