POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River's women took Gulf Coast to the waning seconds of Tuesday's rivalry contest inside a rowdy Marvin R. White Coliseum before ultimately falling 56-55.
"Obviously you feel great if you're on the right end of that. You feel terrible for your players, your institution, your administration and just everybody who pours their heart into this," Pearl River coach Scotty Fletcher said. "We didn't make any shots early and I thought that bothered us a little bit.
"It always comes down to, did we get enough stops? Sure. We just didn't make enough shots tonight."
The Wildcats (9-5 overall, 2-3 MACJC South) scored their first basket of the game after Mychala "Pooh" Linzy poked a pass away and Alanna Smith (Picayune) dashed down the court for an uncontested layup. PRCC then took a brief 5-2 lead thanks to Linzy's first 3-pointer of the night.
Linzy scored five more points in the quarter but PRCC trailed Gulf Coast 16-10 at the first break.
The visitors opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run to build a 24-10 advantage. The Wildcats went on a tear the rest of the quarter, however, out-scoring MGCCC 13-1 the rest of the way. Olivia Mosley (Pearl) was the spark PRCC needed during the run, scoring five of the Wildcats' points. Mosley's most impressive play of the run — in addition to drawing a crucial third foul from MGCCC's star player, Daphane White — was when the sophomore out-rebounded two Bulldogs (12-1, 4-1) for an offensive rebound and then scored the put-back with about 20 seconds remaining in the half.
Even with the run, PRCC trailed 27-22 going into halftime.
The two teams traded shots in the third, with Shania Wright (Clinton) almost willing the Wildcats back into the contest with her efforts on both ends of the court. During a 10-2 run that saw PRCC take a 34-33 lead, the sophomore forward scored eight points and registered a block under her own goal that led to PRCC's fifth basket — a Smith layup.
The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter, but Linzy's 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining on the clock pushed PRCC ahead 41-40 going into the final frame.
The Wildcats didn't let up in the fourth. MGCCC took an early 45-41 advantage but PRCC scored 8 of 10 — thanks to two 3-pointers from Linzy — to jump ahead 49-47. Another run of 6 of 8, which was punctuated by a pullup jumper from Alannah Turner (Gulfport; West Harrison), pushed the home team ahead 54-51.
While the Wildcats took the game down to the wire, they couldn't close out the victory. MGCCC hit a 3-pointer and while Meah Monroe (Reserve, La.; East Ct. John) made 1 of 2 moments later, MGCCC made both of theirs to edge ahead 56-55. PRCC had one final chance to go ahead but was unable to beat the game clock with a shot.
"We wanted to speed them up and I think our pressure at times affected them, we just didn't make quite enough shots," Fletcher said. "You have to protect home court and unfortunately we came up on the short end of the stick tonight."
Linzy continued her recent offensive surge, leading PRCC with 19 points. Wright had a monster game for the Wildcats, scoring 11 points with five rebounds and six blocks. Mosley rounded out PRCC's leading scorers with seven points. She also led PRCC with seven rebounds. Smith had a team-high five assists.
The Wildcats return to the hardwood Thursday with a road trip to Southwest. The doubleheader in Summit will begin at 5:30 p.m.
HOW TO TUNE IN
All home events are broadcast on PRCCAthletics.com and PRCCMedia.com. Anyone who has an Amazon Fire or Roku device can stream PRCC broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" Channel from the app store. Conference games can also be heard on WRJW 1320 AM, WRJWRadio.com or by downloading the WRJW app.