No. 3 Pearl River heads into winter break with a bang

No. 3 Pearl River heads into winter break with a bang

WESSON, Miss. — No. 3 Pearl River has historically had its way against Copiah-Lincoln. Monday night's MACJC South opener was no different as the Wildcats cruised to a 102-59 victory at Grayson L. Mullen Gymnasium.

The win was Pearl River's 14th straight against the Wolves (3-5 overall, 0-1 MACJC South). 

"It seems like it has been forever since we played a real game; and then we had finals and we had guys who packed their clothes because they're leaving for winter break right after the game," Pearl River coach Chris Oney said after the Wildcats' first game since Nov. 26. "Today was kind of one of those weird deals but I just knew if we could get going we would be fine." 


The Wildcats set the tone early with a Kelvin Allen (Olive Branch) 3-pointer to open the scoring.

Tae Hardy (Ellenwood, Ga.; Believe Prep) helped push PRCC (8-0, 1-0) ahead 7-2 with a highlight-reel quality spinning layup off a long pass from Rodgerick Brown (Memphis, Tenn.; Cordova).

Co-Lin pulled within one, 14-13, but Hardy sent a jolt through the Co-Lin gymnasium when he tossed an alley-oop pass high above the board. St. John's signee Isaih Moore (Columbia, S.C.; Sumter) grabbed the ball and threw it down for the 16-13 advantage with 11:35 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats were off and running after that, using two 10-point runs to build a 47-29 halftime advantage.

The Wildcats continued their dominance in the second half. Mid-way through the frame Hardy broke away from the pack and slammed home a dunk for a 68-39 lead. After a Wolves' miss on the other end, PRCC broke out the other way. Following a Wildcat miss, Jamarcus Jones (Sardis; North Panola) scored on a put-back for the 70-39 advantage. Pearl River scored five of the next seven points to continue a 20-2 run for the 75-41 lead with 11:22 remaining in the contest.


Pearl River shot 56.2 percent from the floor Monday while holding Co-Lin to 35.7. Four Wildcats hit double-figures, led by Hardy's 28-point outburst. Brown added 20, while Moore and Jones chipped in 15 and 11 respectively. 

Moore earned his third double-double of the young season, leading PRCC with 10 rebounds. Cameron Smith (Okolona) and Jaronn Wilkens (Biloxi) rounded out PRCC's rebounding leaders with nine and eight respectively.

"(Smith) played in the region championship game last year. He knows what it takes to help win ballgames," Oney said of Smith. "This team makes me smile at night. They're so unselfish. They don't care who does what. We had 24 assists tonight on a team this talented. 

"We have six or seven guys who could probably run off and do it all themselves, but they take joy in doing the little things to help us to victory."

Hardy once again led PRCC with six assists and five steals.

"It's no slight to the other point guards," Oney said when reminded he's stated Hardy has a chance to be the best guard to ever come through Pearl River. "He has a unique ability to do it all. He didn't play 30 minutes tonight. I told some people who called about him, the one game he played 30 minutes he had 31 points. If I play him about 30 minutes a game he'd probably be leading the country in scoring as well as steals. 

"He's just a really, really talent player and I'm extremely excited he's on our team."


Pearl River has not lost to Co-Lin since the 2012-13 season. In the six seasons in between, PRCC has swept the regular season series 2-0. That year, PRCC lost on Jan. 28 but turned around and defeated the Wolves on Feb. 21.


After two weeks at No. 4, the Wildcats are on the move again in the national rankings. When the NJCAA Top 25 was released Monday evening, PRCC had climbed one spot to No. 3 — setting a new program-best. 


The Wildcats are done for 2019 and won't hit the hardwood again until Jan. 7 when they visit Delgado at 7:30 p.m. PRCC returns to Marvin R. White Coliseum two days later when it hosts East Central.

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