PRCC basketball returns after winter breakBy FROM PRCC,
POPLARVILLE – No. 17 Pearl River won’t ease into the second half of the 2018-19 season. After taking several weeks off for winter break, the MACJC’s lone undefeated men’s team will be welcomed back to the court with a road-heavy January schedule.
The Wildcats (9-0, 1-0 MACJC) visit Delgado at 7 p.m. Tuesday in their final non-conference game of the year before traveling to Decatur on Thursday to play East Central in a 7:30 p.m. tip. PRCC hosts rival Jones College at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats play just one more home game – Jan. 24 against Southwest – the rest of the month. Road contests in January include Jan. 17 at Hinds, Jan. 22 at Gulf Coast, Jan. 28 at Meridian and Jan. 31 at Copiah-Lincoln.
“I told the guys the next 31 days are going to be the biggest of the season with 7 of 10 on the road,” PRCC coach Chris Oney said. “Now that there’s a lot of film out there, teams have been able to scout us and will try to take away what we do well.
“All the upcoming games are going to be challenging. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”
‘NEW TEAM, NEW SEASON’
With that in mind, the break couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I told them to find a gym and workout, stay in love with the process, so to speak, but to not worry so much about the wins and losses as much. Just concentrate on themselves,” Oney said. “I think they came back refocused, reenergized and recharged.
“Our motto now is new team, new season. We got back to the basics with everything (in practice) and addressed a few issues we had during the first semester. We’re ready to put all that in motion.”
The team’s first couple of practices back from break were some of the best of the year.
“I don’t think they’re satisfied with what they have done so far,” Oney said. “They want to see how far they can take it.”
Pearl River was one of the nation’s top offensive squads through the first portion of the season. The team’s 98.0 scoring average ranked 17th nationally and was tops in the MACJC. Pushing the attack, four Wildcats averaged double-figures in scoring. Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo; Shannon) scored at a 16.7 points per game clip to lead PRCC. LSU transfer Brandon Rachal (Natchitoches, La.; Natchitoches Central) is averaging 14.1 ppg, while Eric Thornton Jr. (Canton; Murrah) and Jonas James III (Jackson; Murrah) are averaging 13.8 and 10. 2 ppg, respectively.
PRCC’s 24.3 assists-per-game are fourth-highest in the country. James was one of the top assist men in the country through 2018, averaging 8.6 helpers per game – which is good enough for third nationally. Rachal and Thornton are second and third on the team, averaging 4.0 and 3.3.
Rachal is PRCC’s leading rebounder, averaging 8.2 per night. Chris Agbo (Jos, Nigeria) is a close second, averaging 7.2.
Lady Wildcats return from winter break prepared for busy schedule
The holidays have come and gone and the Pearl River women’s basketball team is hard at work trying to become the “best version of themselves."
Scotty Fletcher’s squad ended the 2018 portion of the season with a road trip to Florida, where they posted a 1-1 record.
The Lady Wildcats returned to practice after Christmas and Fletcher is adamant his team is playing its best ball right now.
“We came back right after Christmas and we have been doing two-a-days pretty much everyday,” Fletcher said, “The girls have come back with an unbelievable attitude. We have probably had our best practices so far compared to the fall.”
Coming out of the break, the PRCC women have focused a lot on themselves.
“For the month of January our focus has been becoming the best versions of ourselves and that there is one thing that is keeping you from being the best version of you,” Fletcher said. “It could be anything that is distracting, so our goal for the month is to box that out and keep a positive cloud around our team.”
The path doesn’t get much easier for PRCC as they now head into a two-game road stretch this week. PRCC visits Delgado (3-10) Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then head to Decatur on Thursday to play East Central Community College at 5:30 p.m.
PRCC defeated Delgado 73-58 last November in their season opener.
Fletcher is making sure his team stays focused and takes it one game at a time.
“We tell our girls our most important game is our next game, so right now Delgado is the main focus,” Fletcher said.
The Wildcats then take on East Central (8-1).
“East Central is a great and well-respected program,” Fletcher said. “They are very well coached.”
The Lady Wildcats return to Marvin R. White Coliseum next Monday when they host Jones College at 5:30 p.m.
“Jones is a top 10 program, I have a lot of respect for that program and that coaching staff,” Fletcher said.