POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Roles were reversed Thursday at Marvin R. White Coliseum.
When archrivals Pearl River and Gulf Coast met earlier in the year in Perkinston, the Lady Bulldogs held an early lead before an inspired Pearl River squad rallied to victory.
The Lady Wildcats were unable to tap into the same magic Thursday, falling to Gulf Coast 68-49.
"Our girls kept fighting and didn't give up. But when shots don't go in, I don't care at what level, it is depressing," Pearl River coach Scotty Fletcher said. "That affected us in the third. Give Gulf Coast credit. We hit them in the mouth and we're up 17-9 and they came back."
Pearl River (14-7 overall, 7-5 MACJC) opened the game on a hot streak. Jakia Harper (Jackson; Provine) started the game with a 3-pointer. Three more 3-pointers from Maliyah Bullard (Pass Christian), Gabby Brown (Fort Walton Beach; Choctaw) and Mychala Linzy (Clinton) helped PRCC build a 17-9 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Bullard hit a 3 to start the second quarter, but Gulf Coast (12-7, 8-4) started chipping away at the host's lead as the Lady Wildcats took a 25-24 lead into halftime.
Gulf Coast flipped the script in the third quarter, pulling ahead 46-32, and PRCC never recovered.
"The bottom line is when you go 15-for-58 on your home floor, I don't care who you're playing, you're not going to be able to beat them," Fletcher said.
Linzy led the way in scoring for Pearl River, netting 13. Olivia Mosley (Pearl) finished with 10. Both Peyton and Linzy dished out three assists. Both Meah Monroe (Reserve, La.; East St. john) and Peyton had five rebounds.
The home stretch is filled with important games for the Lady Wildcats as they're clustered in the MACJC South Division with Gulf Coast, Copiah-Lincoln and East Central for the three available playoff spots after Jones College clinched Thursday night.
Pearl River will travel to Southwest next Monday before hosting Meridian on Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The MCC game will serve as Sophomore Night.
"We have to bounce back and respond and to our team's credit we have done that," Fletcher said. "Our backs are against the wall but we'll respond.
"We're still in the hunt. We just have to take care of business."
The games can be seen on PRCCAthletics.comand heard on WRJW 1320 AM. Anyone with a Roku or Amazon Fire devices can stream home games by downloading the "Pearl River C.C." channel from the app store.