WESSON, Miss.— No. 9 Pearl River was sent into a frenzy earlier in the week when it had to scramble late to escape Meridian with the nation's only unbeaten streak still intact.
No such drama was involved Thursday.
The Wildcats scored the game's first six points and never looked back, racing host Copiah-Lincoln to a 108-66 victory at Mullen Gymnasium.
The win was PRCC's 17thstraight victory to open the season, marking a new program best.
The Wildcats' 108 points were also the most Co-Lin (10-7 overall, 3-5 MACJC) has surrendered since Dec. 3, when PRCC (17-0, 8-0) topped the Wolf-Pack 92-74 at Marvin R. White Coliseum.
PRCC coach Chris Oney was proud of his team's energy and said he thought his team responded well after a more encouraging challenge following Monday's scare.
"What I think it did, like last year with the loss to Southwest, I think it refocused us," he said. "I think now they understand these things are precious and you have to bring it every night because a lot of people want to be the first to knock us off this year."
A NEW LEADER
The Wildcats have had the luxury of seeing a different player lead the attack each night. Thursday, it was Fred Thompson's turn. The Biloxi product had a career-night, coming off the bench to score a career-high 19 points. Eighteen of his points came off three pointers.
"The crazy part about it is we've seen that a lot in practice," Oney said, adding that playing time has been scarce because of the team's overwhelming depth.
Jerrez Porter (Clinton) didn't quite have Thompson's offensive night, scoring seven points, but Oney thought he also played one of his best games of the season.
"He has been moving the way he used to move in high school. He's been sure of himself. He's jumping up and taking shots, snatching rebounds and tip dunking," Oney said. "If those two guys can continue to step up on certain nights and take a little bit of pressure off of Brandon (Rachal), C.J. (Brim Jr.) and Jonas (James III), come tournament time we'll be hard to deal with."
OFF AND RUNNING
Thompson collected five of the team early points en route to an 18-8 advantage. Co-Lin rallied, cutting PRCC's lead to 20-17 about nine minutes into the game, but PRCC reeled off a 10-0 run — featuring 3-pointers from Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo; Shannon) and Jonas James III (Jackson; Murrah) and a monstrous slam dunk from Chris Agbo (Jos, Nigeria) after he had swatted a Co-Lin shot on the other end of the court — to pull ahead 30-19. By halftime, PRCC led 50-31.
Pearl River only extended its lead in the second half as it continued to rotate players onto the court with full line changes.
LEADING THE WAY
Brim was second on the team with 15 points, while Kelvin Allen (Olive Branch) and James each chipped in 11. Rachal rounded out PRCC's double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Cameron Smith (Okolona) led PRCC with nine rebounds. Rachal was second with eight. Jvari Thigpen (Jackson; Callaway) pulled in seven. Thigpen also scored eight points in an efficient eight minutes. James had a team-best six assists.
PRCC returns to the court at 7:30 p.m. Monday for a home tilt against East Central. The voice of the Wildcats, Carey Meitzler, will call the game on WRJW 1320 AM. The game will also be streamed at PRCCAthletics.com. Anyone with a Roku device can also watch the game by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from the app store.
The Wildcats won their previous meeting against ECCC in Decatur 99-66.