POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River's women's basketball program has ascended through the MACJC and Region XXIII ranks in recent years under the guidance of head coach Scotty Fletcher and assistants Chelsee Black and Caroline Lumpkin. If the Wildcats are to continue on their rise up the standings, they'll need to continue to stockpile talent.
The staff feels it's off to a strong start for the 2020 signing class with the signatures of Pearl's Keshunti Nichols, Puckett's Alliyah Gray and Meridian's Ty'Mesha Reed.
"I'm excited about our early signing class and would like to give credit to Coach Black and Coach Lumpkin for their hard work and continuing to build great relationships with future Wildcats and coaches in the state," Fletcher said. "Pearl River is a special place and our family tree just got bigger with these three exceptional young women."
In Nichols, the Wildcats are getting a proven winner who helped lead the Pirates to a state championship last season. This year, Pearl is once again undefeated thanks in large part to Nichols' contributions. Nichols will follow in the footsteps of former PHS star and current PRCC starter Olivia Mosley (Pearl).
"KeKe is a long, athletic wing who has a state championship on her resume from Pearl. Her motor is exceptional, which is the most noticeable thing about her game," Fletcher said. "She is someone who can really help us on the defensive end and her ability to slash to the rim is something our team needs. Coach Lumpkin did a great job of building a relationship with her and we have a great relationship with the coaches and their program from the success Libby has had in our program."
After averaging around four points and four rebounds a game as a junior for the deep Pearl team that went 31-1, Nichols is averaging 16 points, 12 rebounds, six steals and two blocks early-on in the 2019-20 season.
The Wildcats added some needed size to their frontcourt with the signature of the 6-foot-1 Gray.
During her junior season, Gray helped lead Puckett to a remarkable 29-4 record and an appearance in the MHSAA Class 2A Final Four.
For her part in leading PHS within a game of the 2A championship, Gray earned numerous honors including team MVP, All-Region 6-2A and All-State for the 2A classification. Gray was also selected to play in the 2019 North-South All-Star Game.
"Alliyah Gray is special — and I mean a special person and player. We are super excited to sign someone with her credentials and basketball resume," Fletcher said. "There is no question she will have an immediate impact on our campus, community and our program with her competitive spirit and her drive to be successful in life.
"She is a threat on both ends of the floor as she has an extremely high motor, is a great rebounder and possesses the ability to score."
Like Nichols, Reed has been an integral part of her team's domination at the prep level. A year ago, MHS boasted a 22-5 record. At the time of her signing, the Wildcats were 9-0.
"Ty is an extremely talented point guard with great size and length for her position. We love her poise and basketball IQ," Fletcher said. "Coach Black did a great job developing a relationship with Ty early and made her comfortable with our program.
"With us losing Pooh (Linzy) and Alanna Smith, we thought it was important to find another dynamic point guard and Ty fits everything we are looking for as a person and player in our program. We are blessed to have her join our Wildcat Family."
Reed averaged eight points, 11 assists and five steals while leading MHS to the MHSAA Class 6A quarterfinals and earned a spot on the Clarion-Ledger's All-State team.