No. 5 Pearl River wins 16th straight against Co-Lin, 32nd overall

No. 5 Pearl River wins 16th straight against Co-Lin, 32nd overall

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (PRCC Athletics) - No. 5 Pearl River kept two streaks alive Thursday night inside Marvin R. White Coliseum. Not only did Coach Chris Oney’s Wildcats top visiting Copiah-Lincoln 77-63 to claim their 32nd straight win overall, but PRCC also extended its winning streak against the Wolves to 16.

GETTING STARTED The Wildcats (4-0 overall; 4-0 MACCC South) and Wolves (2-3; 1-3) duked it out early on Thursday.

It wasn’t until the final minutes in the half when PRCC really pulled away.

Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi) nailed a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats ahead 30-25. After a jumper from Joe Cooper (Olive Branch), Cameron Brown (Hattiesburg) brought the bench to its feet with a thunderous dunk.

Co-Lin hit a basket, but Cooper put the finishing touches on the half with a 3-pointer just seconds before the buzzer for a 37-27 lead.

“Whenever we can get out in transition and get a few easy ones that helps our points-per-possession,” Pearl River coach Chris Oney said. “Not only that, but when you get a few of those and those guys look up at the clock and see we’re up 8, 9, 10, that next 3-ball shot is a little more relaxed because there’s not as much pressure.”

ALL WILDCATS The Wildcats really seemed to build on their momentum in the second half, building a 14-point lead at 46-32 early in the second.

After Brown had made back to back buckets to push PRCC ahead 43-32, Earl Smith (Jackson; Lanier) knocked down a 3-pointer that kissed off the front of the rim, bounced up and through the twine.

The Wolves went on a mini-run, pulling within five at 52-47, but the Wildcats clamped down from there.

Jariyon Wilkens scored on a dish from his brother to push PRCC’s advantage to 54-47. After a slashing score from Smith, Jaronn Wilkens converted a free throw with 10 minutes left to give PRCC a 57-49 lead.

Jariyon Wilkens hit a 3 in the corner and perhaps the highlight of the game unfolded moments later.

Brown pickpocketed a Co-Lin guard at mid-court and flipped the ball to a near-by Cooper. The Olive Branch native dashed down the court in a two-on-one before dishing the ball to Jariyon Wilkens for a slam and 62-51 lead.

“That was huge,” Oney said. “We call those back breakers. After we made that play I saw the look on their faces and felt a little bit better about the game.”

LEADING THE WAY Four Wildcats scored in double figures. Brown led the way with 21. Jariyon Wilkens earned his first double-double of the season, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds. Jaronn Wilkens and Cooper each scored 14.

Jaronn Wilkens, Brown and Ja’Quan Ewing (Clarksville, Tenn.; Kenwood) each had six rebounds. Cooper and Jaronn Wilkens led the team in assists with five and four respectively.

“I feel like we have enough to compete with anybody. There’s not a bad player we can put on the floor,” Oney said. “Every guy can help us compete and win a championship.”

NEXT UP The Wildcats are back on the hardwood Monday at Hinds. PRCC returns to the Coliseum next Thursday to host rival Gulf Coast. Both games are set for 6 p.m. starts.