POPLARVILLE – Cortez Mitchell scored a season-high 24 points to lead Pearl River Community College to a 69-59 victory over Southwest Mississippi in the South Division opener for both teams Thursday night at Summit.
The Lady Wildcats, however, lost their sixth straight game as the Lady Bears used a big first half to win decisively 71-55.
Pearl River (5-3 overall, 1-0 division) opened up a 10-point lead in the first half, and enjoyed a 34-26 advantage at halftime.
The Wildcats led by as many as 14 points midway through the second half before the Bears rallied to cut the margin to eight points, but that was as close as they would come. PRCC helped its cause by shooting 55.1 percent (27 of 49) from the field.
Besides his 24 points, Mitchell had a team-high eight rebounds for Pearl River. Darrlyn Willis added 12 points and Teddy Scott had 10 points for the Wildcats. Rodrick Sikes scored 17 points to lead Southwest (4-4, 0-1).
The Lady Wildcats (1-6, 0-1) fell behind 6-0 early in the game and never recovered, as Southwest (7-1, 1-0) opened up a 25-10 lead after the first quarter.
The Lady Bears led by as many as 24 points early in the second half before Pearl River went on a 17-4 run to close the margin to 51-40 after three quarters.
The Lady Wildcats opened the final period with a 9-4 run to trail by just six with 7:16 to play, but Southwest hit 3-point shots on back-to-back possessions to pull away.
Asia Thibodeaux scored 22 points to lead PRCC; Gabby Cortez had 22 points to lead Southwest.
Pearl River will complete the 2015 portion of its schedule on Monday against Copiah-Lincoln. Tipoff at Marvin R. White Coliseum is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. for the women’s game, followed by a 7:30 p.m. start for men’s action.
PRCC will have two non-division home games following the Christmas break, Jan. 5 against Delgado and Jan. 7 against Mississippi Delta.
Thursday at Summit
Southwest 71, Pearl River 55
Pearl River 10-11-19-15 – 55
Southwest 25-18-8-20 – 71
PEARL RIVER (1-6, 0-1 South): Asia Thibodeaux 22, Shantavis Hughes 3, Jessica Wilson 4, Tiara Warren 5, Shaniqua Magee 8, Akayla Powell 2, Jada Ivy 5, Shelanita Starks 6.
SOUTHWEST (7-1, 1-0 South): Teshia Jones 17, Kristy Armwood 6, Alissa Adam 17, Shalisa Hawthorne 2, Gabby Cortez 22, Keke McDyess 1.
Pearl River 69, Southwest 59
Pearl River 34-35 – 69
Southwest 26-33 – 59
PEARL RIVER (5-3, 1-0 South): William Brown 8, Cortez Mitchell 24, Tawarren Grant 3, Teddy Scott 10, Jamond Franklin 3, Darryln Willis 12, Jabari Craig 4, Leon Hampton 2.
SOUTHWEST (4-4, 0-1 South): Terrell Miller 13, Lafayette Rutledge 6, LeDarrius Simmons 2, Chris McIntosh 8, Guy Johnson 1, Mario Doyle 4, Trell Thompson 5, Bryce Baker 3, Rodrick Sikes 17.