POPLARVILLE – Just three days after experiencing one of the lowest of low moments, the Pearl River Community College women’s basketball team enjoyed one of its highest of high moments against Jones County.
Sophomore Destiny Williams (Liberty) got a putback basket with 8.7 seconds remaining, and the Lady Wildcats got a key defensive stop at the end for a stunning 70-69 upset of the third-ranked Lady Bobcats Thursday night at M.R. White Coliseum.
PRCC (12-6 overall) remained squarely in the thick of the battle for one of four spots in the MACJC State Tournament from the South Division at 5-5 in division play. JCJC (16-3, 9-1) suffered its first loss to an MACJC team since Dec. 5, 2016.
“Our girls just had a refuse-to-lose mentality,” said Pearl River coach Scotty Fletcher. “To see them come back and play like they did tonight, after what happened Monday, I could not be prouder of my team.”
The Lady Wildcats suffered a devastating 60-59 loss to Southwest on Monday after they had a four-point lead with 10 seconds to play. And JCJC had won the first meeting between the two teams 92-61 at Ellisville.
But PRCC took the fight to Jones County right from the start and never backed off, even when it looked like the Lady Bobcats had the momentum. The Lady Wildcats came back from six points down in the first quarter, and rallied from seven back in the second half.
Freshman Gabby Brown (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) had her best game of the season, scoring a season-high 25 points, largely on the strength 6 of 10 shots from 3-point range.
“She is really becoming a leader, like we knew she would,” said Fletcher. “She comes from a basketball family. Both her parents are coaches, and her older sister was a four-year starter at Florida State and now plays professionally.
“During one of our timeouts, she stepped up and said, ‘we’re not losing this game.’ And they went out and made it happen.”
Jones’ leading scorer Alexis Tolefree, gave the Lady Bobcats a 69-67 lead with a runner in the lane, but sophomore Charisma Walker (Brandon) pulled the Lady Wildcats to within one with a free throw with 49 seconds to play.
Sophomore Tyasia Willis (Camden) got a defensive rebound on a miss by Jones with 28.6 seconds left, and PRCC worked patiently for a good shot.
Walker put up a 10-foot jump shot from the baseline that rolled off the rim, but Williams was in the right spot for her sixth offensive rebound of the game and put in a soft layup for the go-ahead points.
Tolefree got a decent shot off at the other end, but it bounced off the rim and into the hands of Willis for her 18th rebound of the game, setting in motion an emotional outburst from the Lady Wildcats and their fans as the clock ran out.
Walker finished with 15 points for Pearl River.
The Lady Wildcats will go on the road for their next game, a critical contest against Hinds at 5:30 p.m. Monday, then return home to face East Central on Thursday.
(Photo courtesy of Juco Weekly)
Pearl River freshman guard Gabby Brown leads the offense for the Lady Wildcats during action earlier this season against East Central. Brown had a season-high 25 points in PRCC’s upset of Jones County.
PRCC BASKETBALL SUMMARY
Thursday at Poplarville
Pearl River 70, Jones County 69
JCJC 14 16 22 17 – 69
PRCC 10 20 17 23 – 70
JONES COUNTY (16-3, 9-1 in South): K.K. Tassin 6, Alexis Tolefree 25, Kira Bonner 4, Camryn London 2, NIque Cherry 12, Maya Jones 3, McKenzie Thompson 2, Chrystal Ezechukwu 8, Zakyia Weathersby 7.
PEARL RIVER (12-6, 5-5 in South): Charisma Walker 15, Tyasia Willis 8 (18 rebounds), Gabby Brown 6, Aire’Anna Norwood 4, Tariah Mouton 1, Cotoria Blackmon 8, Shauntelle Adams 1, Destiny Williams 8 (7 rebounds).