DECATUR — Pearl River's women pushed East Central to the brink but ultimately came up just short Thursday, falling at ECCC 75-67 in overtime.
"I thought our youth was very much exposed tonight. I have to do a better job. That's on me. Those girls have never been in that position before," PRCC coach Scotty Fletcher said. "I was proud that when we got down we fought to take the lead, but I didn't feel like we had the leadership tonight when the game got tough."
The Lady Wildcats (7-3 overall, 1-1 MACJC) traded shots with ECCC (10-1, 1-1) for much of the first half, with the hosts clinging to a 34-30 advantage at halftime.
PRCC used a six-point run, capped by a big bucket by Elexis Peyton (Jackson; Provine), to tie the game 43-43 after three quarters to set up a thrilling end to regulation.
PRCC scored seven unanswered points to go ahead 52-47 midway through the frame thanks to a Peyton basket combined with a 3-pointer from Jake Harper (Jackson; Provine) and another basket by Harper. ECCC surged back, tying the game 54-54.
Mychala Linzy (Clinton) and Maliyah Bullard (Pass Christian) each made big 3-pointers in the final two minutes, and Gabby Brown (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Choctaw) scored on a putback with seven seconds left to go ahead 62-61, but East Central tied the game 62-62 to force overtime.
"We made some tough baskets to even give ourselves a chance," Fletcher said. "We just didn't execute."
The Lady Warriors scored the first basket of overtime, and while PRCC still scored five points in the extra frame the Lady Wildcats never regained the lead.
"I thought we played hard, but playing hard and being good kids isn't enough to win in this league. You have to execute better," Fletcher said. "I have to remember they're puppies. They bark and I have to teach them how to bite. That's just where we are. I'm going to get them there."
Harper led PRCC with 12 points, with Peyton adding 10. Bullard, Brown and Linzy each added eight points. Brown led PRCC with seven rebounds and three assists. Peyton added four assists to her stat line for the night.
BACK IN ACTION
PRCC returns to the court Monday to host Jones College at Marvin R. White Coliseum. Opening tip is set for 5:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WRJW 1320 AM and will be live-streamed at PRCCAthletics.com.
"The atmosphere will be electric," Fletcher said.