Pearl River women take down No. 14 Jones College
Dylan Dunaway / PRCC Sports Information
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The only gloomy thing about Thursday night was the weather as the Pearl River women's basketball team upset No. 14 Jones College 72-60 inside of Marvin R. White Coliseum. The win placed the Wildcats in first place in the MACCC standings.
The victory for Pearl River was its first over the Bobcats since the 2017-18 season and was Jones College's first MACCC loss since the 2019-20 season.
Additionally, Pearl River set the program record for wins in a season with 17 as well as conference wins with 10.
Pearl River celebrates after taking down No. 14 Jones College Thursday night inside of Marvin R. White Coliseum. The Wildcats moved into first place in the MACCC standings with the victory. (Courtney Crosby/PRCC Athletics)
"When you build something for seven years and then get a chance to play for first place at home, it feels incredible," head coach Scotty Fletcher. "As a coach, all you ever want is a group to buy into you and believe. The excitement that I saw from those girls tonight was special. I say it all of the time, but I'm lucky, honored and blessed to be their coach. There's something about this team that is special. The girls are really doing a great job with buying in."
After the game, Fletcher gave a special shoutout to his assistant Mendy McNeese.
"Coach (Mendy) McNeese did a phenomenal job with the scouting report," Fletcher said. "I want to give her a special shoutout. She did a phenomenal job of in-depth detail on the scouting report. Our girls were extremely prepared."
FIRST QUARTER It was all Jones College (14-4 overall; 9-1 MACCC) to start the night as they quickly drained a 3-pointer to take an early lead. Otashae Burrage (Carthage; Leake County) tied the game up when she caught a pass in the corner and knocked down the 3-pointer to make it 3-3.
Jones College continued to pour it on, taking a 12-3 lead midway through the first quarter of play.
Pearl River (17-3; 10-1) battled back to cut the deficit to just four points at 12-8 when Halle Traylor (Tupelo) caught a pass on the wing from Amaijah Smith (Gulfport) and drained a 3-point shot.
The Bobcats then added on a few more points to end the first quarter with an 18-9 lead.
SECOND QUARTER The second quarter saw Pearl River pull things closer as right out of the gate Bryanna Taylor (Terry) fought for an offensive rebound before putting it back up to make the score 18-11.
Immediately after, Taylor drew a foul and went perfect from the free-throw line to make the score 18-13.
Jones College grabbed a 3-pointer but Tristen Washington (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) matched it almost instantly, catching a pass at the top of the key and lacing it into the net to make the score 21-16.
A few minutes later, Ty'Mesha Reed (Meridian) drove into the lane forcing a reaction from the Bobcat defender. Once the defender moved, Reed quickly hit a wide-open Keshunti Nichols (Pearl) for an easy layup to make the score 27-19. The pair connected again shortly after for another Nichols layup.
The Wildcats went into the break trailing 27-22.
THIRD QUARTER The message that coach Fletcher gave at halftime was heard by the Wildcats as they came out on fire in the second half of the night.
The deficit was cut to three points at 27-24 after Taylor caught a pass from Marcavia Shavers (Biloxi) and backed into the lane before scoring a basket.
Immediately after the Wildcats tied the game when Burrage received a pass from Reed and drained a 3-pointer from the right-side wing.
The Wildcats grabbed their first lead of the night when Washington hit Nichols who nailed a shot from way beyond the arc to make the score 30-27.
Jones College equalized right after with a 3-pointer of its own.
With the score tied 32-32, Washington caught fire to help the Wildcats start to pull away. She caught a pass and proceeded to crossover her defender, sending the Bobcat player a few feet down the court before draining the 3-point shot to make the score 35-32. Just moments later, Washington again nailed a 3-pointer to make the score 38-32.
After a quick layup from Jones College, Washington was fouled and made both shot attempts count, resulting in a 40-34 lead for the Wildcats.
Washington sent the Pearl River bench into hysterics a few plays later when she hit a 3-pointer from nearly five feet beyond the arc to make the score 44-36.
A minute later, Nichols battled for a rebound before spinning away to make a layup that made the score 46-36.
Jones College cut into the Wildcat lead, making the score 46-41 after a layup and a 3-pointer.
Just before the third quarter ended, Anessa Dussette (Houston, Tx.; Manvel) hit a 3-pointer from the corner to make the score 51-41 heading into the last 10 minutes of play.
FOURTH QUARTER The Wildcats opened the scoring in the fourth quarter when Dussette found Shavers inside the lane for a layup, making the score 53-41.
The Bobcats made the score 53-46 moments later before Reed made one of the best plays of the night. After driving the lane, Reed jumped and passed the ball behind the back of the Bobcat defender and found Shavers wide open. Shavers quickly put the ball up and in to make the score. 55-46.
Nichols hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key a few plays later to make the score 58-46.
Jones cut the deficit to seven points at 58-51 a bit later but baskets from Shavers and Burrage made the score 62-51.
The Wildcats saw themselves ahead 66-56 after Washington channeled her inner quarterback with a full-court heave to a sprinting Nichols who laid the ball up and in.
Pearl River continued to control the game before closing things out with a convicting 72-60 victory.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING Washington landed her sixth consecutive double-digit game, tying for the team lead in points with 15. Nichols also finished the night with 15 points.
"I told Tristen that she was our Division I transfer and that we had confidence in her," Fletcher said. "I told her that we wanted her to keep doing what she was doing and she got it done for us tonight."
Shavers was one rebound short of a double-double, finishing the night with 12 points and nine boards. Taylor was second on the team in rebounds with seven.
Reed was making the right passes all night long, finishing with a game-high eight assists. She also had six rebounds.
"I thought that Ty's confidence at the point guard position was key tonight," Fletcher said. "She had eight big assists and six big boards tonight. It was a great game from her."
UP NEXT The Wildcats return to action Monday as they travel to Mississippi Delta for a 6 p.m. tipoff. The game will be livestreamed at MDCCTrojans.com
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