Pearl River advances to Region 23 Semifinals after emphatic win over Southwest
Published 2:17 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023
POPLARVILLE, Miss. – The Pearl River women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the Region 23 semifinals for the second consecutive year after an emphatic 60-41 quarterfinal win over Southwest Wednesday in an electric Marvin R. White Coliseum.
The Wildcats relied on a relentless defense, holding the Bears to 20 percent shooting from the field and strong rebounding to keep the Bears from finding any offensive rhythm on the night.
“It is a special group. We said that from day one. We have had buy-in, and we had character, discipline and accountability in our program. It runs in our DNA,” PRCC head coach Scotty Fletcher said of this year’s team. “We try and prepare these young women for when they leave here, they can go to the next stop and be successful.”
Pearl River (23-3 overall) and Southwest (17-11 overall) struggled to get in synch offensively in a low-scoring first quarter. Ty’Mesha Reed (Meridian) got the Wildcats on the board first with a 3-pointer. Reed was the beneficiary of great ball movement by Marcavia Shavers (Biloxi) and Jaliscia Florence (Tupelo) who moved the ball with ease to find Reed open for the shot.
Another Reed 3-pointer gave the Wildcats an early 6-3 lead over the Bears.
Tierra Simon (Houston, Texas; Heights) forced a bad Bears pass which Reed intercepted. Reed found Ingram who completed the play for a layup and gave the Wildcats a 9-3 lead.
The Bears responded with seven unanswered points including, a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give them a one point first quarter lead, 10-9.
Brandy Scott (Hammond, La.) opened up the second quarter with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Simon came down with a defensive rebound and passed to Scott who drove the length of the court and was fouled on a made layup. Scott hit the free throw to give the Wildcats a 12-10 lead. A nice layup by Florence who flew past her defender for a layup and a midrange jumper by Simon pushed the lead to 16-10.
Hama’ya Fielder (Philadelphia, Miss.; Neshoba Central) hit a 3-pointer from the arc to give the Wildcats a nine-point lead, 19-10. The basket was the result of great passing between Fielder and Keshunti Nichols (Pearl). Fielder found Nichols down low, and when the defense crashed on Nichols, Nichols found a wide-open Fielder.
The half ended with Reed floating a pass to Nichols. Nichols fought through two Bear defenders for the basket to send the Wildcats into the break with a 23-12 lead.
Shavers opened up the third quarter with a rebound and putback to give the Wildcats a 13-point lead, 25-12.
After a strong effort by Fielder on defense which led to Southwest losing possession, Fielder hit a 3-pointer from the corner, pushing the lead to 16, 28-12.
Ingram converted a free throw after being fouled on a nice drive and layup to move the lead to 31-12.
Halle Traylor (Tupelo) hit another 3-pointer after Florence found her open behind the line, 37-17. Traylor closed out the quarter with a nice possession by bringing the ball up from midcourt and converting on a layup to give the Wildcats a 20-point lead at the break, 41-21.
Scott opened the fourth quarter the same way she opened the second, with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Scott drove into the lane and was fouled as she hit a floater. The Wildcats led 44-24 after Scott converted the free throw. Fielder pushed the lead to 46-24 with a putback basket in the paint.
Ingram scored the next four PRCC points with a floater in the lane and a layup, giving the Wildcats a 50-32 lead.
Reed returned to the scoring column with an exciting coast-to-coast fast break and basket. Reed followed with a fastbreak off an inbound pass from Ingram. Ingram, inbounding from the Wildcats’ defensive baseline, found Reed behind the Bear defense at midcourt. Reed collected the inbound and outraced the defense for a layup, 54-40.
Ingram scored the next four points for the Wildcats. After driving from midcourt, Ingram hit a floater in the lane. Ingram hit another floater outside the lane to give the Wildcats a 58-41 lead.
Reed closed out the scoring, 60-41, with two free throws after a Southwest technical foul.
LEADING THE WAY
Ingram led all scorers with 18 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Reed finished with 12 points, six rebounds, six assists, one block and one steal.
Simon and Shavers had monster nights on the boards, with Simon pulling down 15 rebounds and Shavers hauling in 11.
The Wildcats will play in the semifinals of the Region 23 tournament in A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Gametime will either be 12 PM or 2 PM.
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