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Record-setting win sends No. 11 Pearl River to Region 23 Semifinal

Dylan Dunaway -PRCC Sports Information Director

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Monday was a special night for the No. 11 Pearl River women's basketball team. Not only did the Wildcats beat Northeast 80-47 to clinch a spot in the Region 23 Semifinal for a third consecutive year, but they also set a program record for most wins in a season with 27.

"It was a total team effort tonight," head coach Scotty Fletcher said. "I am really proud of our girls for how prepared they were. The third quarter has notoriously been Northeast's best quarter, and we only gave up seven points. We shot the ball well and cashed in from the free-throw line. I'm really proud of them."

Pearl River now advances to Thursday's Semifinal game hosted at A.E. Wood Coliseum on Mississippi College's campus. The Wildcats will take on 3-seed Southwest at 5 p.m.



Pearl River (27-3 overall) opened the game on a 10-1 run — fueled almost entirely by Avery Young (Iota, La.). She opened up the night by floating a ball in from the right baseline and followed by nailing a 3-pointer from the right wing. While she didn't score on the next play, she created the offense, setting a perfect screen for a Taylor Johnson-Matthews (Cleveland, Ohio; Charles F. Brush) shot from beyond the arc. Young finally wrapped up the early run with two perfect free throws.

Northeast (20-12) briefly interrupted the run before PRCC started to stretch out the lead again. Hama'ya Fielder (Philadelphia; Neshoba Central) nailed a 3-pointer from the right side — celebrating as the ball rattled around the rim and fell. In her first game since suffering an injury earlier this season, Roge'Ne' Hillard (Hazlehurst; Copiah Academy) made an impact by snatching an offensive rebound and scoring a putback, 15-4. The lead extended to 17-4 seconds later, with Johnson-Matthews hitting a pair of free throws. 

Northeast cut the deficit back to single-digits at nine, but PRCC put the pedal back to the floor and ended the first quarter ahead 26-10 — thanks to a buzzer-beating corner 3-pointer by Audria Houston (Oxford; Tupelo). 

The baskets kept falling in the second quarter, and they were almost exclusively off the smooth shot of Johnson-Matthews, who scored an incredible 14 points in the quarter alone. The highlight of the frame for Johnson-Matthews made the score 45-23. She dribbled down the court, quickly dribbled behind her back to lose a defender and nailed a layup. Young picked up another tear-drop basket before the quarter ended, and PRCC headed into halftime ahead 47-25.

Samya Brooks (Ponotoc, MS) shoots a free throw.

The Wildcats continued to fire on all cylinders in the third quarter. The first basket of the quarter came from hard work on the offensive boards. PRCC picked up two straight offensive rebounds, and Johnson-Matthews finally got a layup to fall, 49-25. Fielder followed by getting hot from beyond the arc, and on two consecutive offensive possessions, she hit long 3-pointers, 60-27. PRCC picked up a few more points before the quarter ended and led 66-32 with one left to play.

Although Northeast scored 15 points in the final quarter of player, the Wildcats matched the Tigers almost point-for-point. Johnson-Matthews scored six points, Samya Brooks (Pontotoc) scored four, and Marley Freeman (Brandon) and Young tacked on two apiece. PRCC walked away with an impressive 80-46 victory to advance to the Region 23 Semifinal



Johnson-Matthews had an unreal night, finishing with 30 points, nine rebounds and five assists. She tacked on two steals and two blocks.

"Taylor was phenomenal tonight," Fletcher said. "She's had a different look about her the last few days."

Young was second on the team with 16 points. She added in four rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

"I knew they were going to make some adjustments to try and slow Avery down," Fletcher said. "I thought she was still really good tonight. That was a big 16 points."

Fielder had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers. Hillard had six points and six rebounds in her first game back in action.



Thursday's game will livestreamed for free at 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. The game will also be available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320-AM and 106.9 FM with the voice of the Wildcats, Carey Meitzler, on the call. The radio broadcast is also available at and by downloading the WRJW app.


For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on X (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics). 



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