ELLISVILLE, Miss — It did not come easy but the No.15 Pearl River Wildcats broke through the first round of the MACJC tournament Tuesday, defeating Holmes 60-48.
The Wildcats (22-2) had their grit tested throughout the contest as Holmes (15-9) fought tooth and nail to try to contain the high powered Wildcat offense.
"At this point in the season, you don't really care about how pretty or how ugly the win is," PRCC coach Chris Oney said. "You just care that you got the win."
A SLOW START
The first half of the contest was very slow paced with Holmes executing a great game plan that frustrated the Wildcat offense.
Pearl River fortunately got solid post play from Chris Agbo (Jos, Nigeria; Covenant Christian Ministries Academy) and Kirk Parker (Vicksburg) in the first half that saw them grab most of the boards for the Wildcats.
Lagarious White (Ridgeland; Brandon) nailed two 3-pointers to help the Wildcats take a 26-22 lead into halftime.
MAKING THE RUN
The Wildcats got off to a rocky start in the second half having a tough time defending Holmes.
Holmes started the second half with a 9-2 run to take the lead against Pearl River 43-33.
It was in the last 10 minutes of the ball game where the Wildcats took the game over once and for all.
The Wildcats ended the game on 24-5 run filled with pressure filled defense that led to turnovers while they were able to make points in transition.
"It was important for us to get some of those steals and get out there in transition and get those easy buckets because if you just play against Holmes man to man defense they make it pretty tough," Oney said.
Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo; Shannon) gave the Wildcats back the lead with a 3-point dagger that put Pearl River up 46-43 with six minutes left in the contest.
The Wildcats didn't stop there as Eric Thornton Jr. (Canton; Murrah) and Agbo tried to bring down the backboard with two thunderous dunks.
TAKING IT OVER
Thornton led the Wildcats with 14 points, 13 of which came in the second half of the game.
Thornton also grabbed eight rebounds.
Brim and Brandon Rachal (Natchitoches, La.; Natchitoches Central) were not far behind scoring 12 points each.
Agbo led the team in rebounds with 11 while also scoring six points.
Parker also had eight rebounds.
The Wildcats will take on East Mississippi tomorrow at 3 p.m. at A.B. Howard Gymnasium at Jones.
The game will be streamed on PRCCAthletics.com.