POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River redshirt sophomore Elexis Peyton (Jackson; Provine) always had the potential of being a next-level athlete. Although a serious injury detoured her road to the Division I stage, the Wildcat was never derailed and recently signed with Jackson State.
"Elexis Peyton is a very special and bright young woman. It's hard for me to sum up her career and the mark she left on our program in one or two sentences. Lex was with me three years and part of my first recruiting class," Fletcher said. "I can remember seeing her in the gym and her missing lunch because she was driven to be so good.
"I will never forget her asking me if she could play the perimeter here and my response was I will play you wherever you want as long as I see you putting in the work."
Peyton responded to her coach's challenge, leading PRCC to a 7-1 start in 2016-17 before tearing her ACL. Not only did Peyton lose the rest of her true freshman season, but all of 2017-18 as she rehabbed.
Undeterred, Peyton continued to work as Fletcher had initially requested.
"I was devastated for her because she had worked so hard and had even received a D-I offer," Fletcher said. "I saw how hard she worked in rehab to come back to be stronger than ever.
"Elexis Peyton comes from an awesome family who was supportive from Day 1."
As a sophomore this past year, Peyton was a big reason the Wildcats reached new heights, qualifying for both the MACJC and Region XXIII tournaments. In 25 games this year, Peyton averaged 9.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals.
"We had the success that I envisioned this past year due to her leadership and profound impact she made on our program," Fletcher said. "I am beyond excited that she is getting a chance to go back to her hometown and play basketball and receive her degree from Jackson State.
"I saw her play her last high school game at Jackson State and can't wait to watch her play again there for the Tigers."
Through all the highs and lows, Peyton said PRCC will always stay with her.
"My time at Pearl River was adventurous, enlightening and profound. I went from being a shy, young girl to a fierce leader and competitor," she said. "I must credit my awesome coaching staff for all my success at The River. I'll be forever indebted to PRCC and value the lessons I learned during my tenure. Thanks, PRCC for the great time. Roll river roll."