Pearl River takes care of Itawamba for 15th win
Dylan Dunaway/PRCC Sports Information
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River women's basketball team extended its winning streak to five in a row Saturday, cruising to a 62-49 victory over Itawamba. The victory marked the 15th of the season for the Wildcats.
"Give Itawamba credit, they were extremely talented and jumped on us early," head coach Scotty Fletcher said. "Their guard play was really good early on.
"We held them to 49 today and that speaks volumes about our defense. They have four girls averaging double-figures. Our bench play was key for us today, that really helped us win this game. I'm just really proud of the girls and the way that they played today."
FIRST QUARTER The opening portion of the contest had things looking grim for Pearl River (15-3 overall; 8-1 MACCC) as Itawamba (11-5; 6-2) jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats put a stop to the run when Ty'Mesha Reed (Meridian) found an open Tristen Washington (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) in the corner. The Northwestern State transfer caught the pass and immediately drained the 3-pointer. PRCC knocked down another 3-pointer moments later as Otashae Burrage (Carthage; Leake County) knocked down a shot from the top of the key. The 3-point barrage continued as Amaijah Smith (Gulfport) swung a pass across court to a wide-open Washington who swiftly deposited the ball into the basket, cutting the deficit to one point at 10-9.
After the Indians grabbed a point back from the free-throw line, Washington gave the Wildcats a 12-11 lead with another 3-pointer.
ICC retook the lead once again, but Gabby Collier (Brandon) was perfect from the free-throw line to give PRCC a 16-14 lead at the end of the first.
SECOND QUARTER The scoring carried over into the second quarter as the Wildcats grabbed the first five points to make the score 21-14. Keshunti Nichols (Pearl) opened the quarter with a layup and Halle Traylor (Tupelo) followed it up with a 3-pointer from the corner.
A few minutes later, Burrage made the score 26-18 with a 3-pointer after Nichols passed the ball to her at the top of the key and set a screen on two Indian defenders.
Continuing her hot hand from the 3-point line, Washington caught a pass in the corner and sliced it home with an ICC defender in her face to make the score 29-18.
ICC grabbed a basket just before time expired in the first half to make the score 32-20 in favor of the Wildcats.
THIRD QUARTER Itawamba cut the deficit to 10 points at 32-22 to start the quarter, but Marcavia Shavers (Biloxi) quickly responded by knocking down a layup through contact and promptly converting the and-one to make the score 35-22.
Moments later, Burrage was fouled on a 3-point attempt and knocked down all of her attempts to extend the Wildcat lead to 38-24.
Pearl River took a 46-31 lead late in the third quarter as Reed drained a jumper from just inside the 3-point line.
The Wildcats remained in the driver's seat and took a 49-35 lead into the last 10-minutes of play.
FOURTH QUARTER Itawamba opened the scoring in the fourth with a jumper, but Washington answered the basket with yet another 3-pointer, making the score 52-37.
Right after, Nichols fought for an offensive rebound and put it back up to make the score 54-37.
The Wildcats found themselves up 57-41 late in the fourth quarter, but Washington went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to put Pearl River ahead 60-41.
Itawamba tried to make a late run, but the Wildcats closed out the game to win 62-49.
BY THE NUMBERS Washington continued her hot run of form, leading the team in points with 21. She finished the game 6-for-12 from beyond the arc.
"Tristen is just in the zone right now," Fletcher said. "She's playing a lot of minutes and I don't like for her to have to play that many, but we wouldn't have won the last four games without her. I am really, really proud of Tristen and the way that she has responded. She deserves it. She's a quality young lady."
Burrage rounded out the players in double-figures, scoring 14 points. Reed finished the game third in scoring with eight points and led the team in assists with five.
Leading the way in rebounding was Shavers with eight and Nichols was second with six.
NEXT UP The Wildcats hit the road for Monday's contest to take on Holmes. The game is set to get underway at 6 p.m. The game will be livestreamed at HolmesCCMedia.com