MERIDIAN, Miss— No. 9 Pearl River pulled out a dramatic comeback Monday night, defeating Meridian 62-61. The victory was their 16th straight.
PRCC coach Chris Oney was proud of the way his team responded to the adversity of a tough road game.
"I'm just proud of my guys. This is a tough environment and our guys just hung in there," Oney said. "Not only was our effort there and not only did we make the right plays but we also got a little lucky."
The Wildcats (16-0) had stretches where they controlled the pace of play but just could not extend their lead substantially in the first half against the Eagles (7-8), taking a 37-26 lead into halftime.
It was in the second half where Meridian really stepped up, challenging the Wildcats on both sides of the ball.
The Eagles held a 61-56 lead over Pearl River with one minute to play but the Wildcats just would not go away.
The Wildcats clawed their way back on a six-point run in the final minute starting with PRCC big man Chris Agbo (Jos, Nigeria; Covenant Christian Ministries Academy) scoring two free throws to make it 61-58.
The Wildcats then got the stop of the game and followed it up with a layup from Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo; Shannon) to make it a one-point game.
Brandon Rachal (Natchitoches, La.; Natchitoches Central) grabbed a huge steal and passed it to Kelvin Allen (Olive Branch) who then passed it to Jonas James (Jackson; Murrah) who was fouled going to the basket.
James sank both free throws to give the Wildcats a 62-61 lead with 15 seconds left. Meridian had a chance to go back ahead after an in-bounds pass under PRCC's basket, but the Wildcats weathered the late flurry to hang on to clinch their seventh conference win of the season.
"We had to have guys step up and make plays and our guys got it done," Oney said.
Brim led the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points. Not far behind was Rachal, who scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Eric Thornton Jr. (Canton; Murrah) had a good night as well, scoring 12 points and hauling in six rebounds.
Up next for the Wildcats is a road trip to take on Co-Lin Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WRJW 1320 AM.