No. 22 Pearl River drops MACCC Quarterfinal slugfest against Northwest

No. 22 Pearl River drops MACCC Quarterfinal slugfest against Northwest

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 18 Pearl River women's basketball fought until the final buzzer in Monday's MACCC Quarterfinal match, eventually falling to Northwest 70-68 in overtime.

"They made some tough shots tonight, especially that one with three seconds to go in regulation," Pearl River coach Scotty Fletcher said. "It was a tough environment for them and a tough way for us to lose. They made us make contested jumpers and unfortunately the ball didn't go in for us. We will regroup."

Pearl River (19-5 overall) got the scoring started against Northwest (15-9) as Bryanna Taylor (Terry) caught a pass from Ty'Mesha Reed (Meridian) and backed into the lane before laying it up and in.

Northwest tied the game up 2-2 after nailing a jumper.

The Rangers knocked down a 3-pointer shortly after, but Keshunti Nichols (Pearl) cut the deficit to one at 5-4 after grabbing an offensive rebound and laying it back into the basket.

NWCC kept its foot on the gas, building out a 12-4 lead before Otashae Burrage (Carthage; Leake County) caught a pass on the wing and drained a 3-pointer to make the score 12-7.

After Nichols made her first free throw attempt, her second bounced off the rim and found Marcavia Shavers (Biloxi) who laid it up to make the score 12-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started with a bang as back-to-back acrobatic layups from Nichols gave Pearl River its first lead of the night, 14-12.

Shortly after, Reed drove the lane and caused all of the NWCC defenders to crash inside. The guard quickly dished the ball out to Tristen Washington (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) who knocked down her first 3-pointer of the night to put Pearl River ahead 17-12.

The Rangers grabbed two baskets to make the score 17-16, but a layup from Shavers and a jumper by Washington put the Wildcats on top 21-16, forcing an NWCC timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Rangers nailed a 3-pointer to make the score 21-19. The Wildcats got a point after a free throw and then Northwest knocked down another shot from beyond the arc to tie the game up at 22-22.

The Wildcats immediately answered as Washington knocked down her second 3-pointer of the game to put Pearl River ahead 25-22.

Moments later, Pearl River set a screen on two Rangers and Reed went around the players to knock down a jumper, making the score 27-22.

The Rangers were able to cut the deficit to two points late in the quarter, entering the break down 27-25 to the Wildcats.

Washington opened the third quarter of play by driving the lane for a layup followed up by another 3-pointer. The play began with Reed dribbling all the way down the court before stopping abruptly to send the Northwest defender flying by. She then passed out to a wide-open Washington who nailed the 3-point shot. The play helped the Wildcats take a 32-25 lead.

After a Nichols coast-to-coast layup made the score 34-26, Northwest caught fire to snatch the lead 41-37.

NWCC eventually found itself ahead 48-37. Burrage then caught a pass and let a shot fly that rattled around the rim before falling through to make the score 48-40 just before the quarter ended.

Halle Traylor (Tupelo) opened the fourth quarter by grabbing a point from the free-throw line. Burrage followed her up by busting a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the deficit to four points at 48-44.

Two free throws from NWCC swelled the lead to 50-44.

Brandy Scott (Hammond, La.) then entered the game and instantly made an impact by driving the lane for a layup. Immediately after, the Rangers drove up the court and toward the lane. Taylor poked the ball away and Washington dove to the floor to get the loose ball. She then dished to Scott who took it all the way for a layup to make the score 50-48 in favor of Northwest.

Moments later Washington tied the game up 51-51 by draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Pearl River grabbed the lead right back moments later as Traylor had a perfect trip to the free-throw line, making the score 57-55 Wildcats.

As time was running down in regulation, Pearl River was clinging to a 60-58 lead. The Rangers broke down the court and unleashed an off-balance lob from the free-throw line that managed to fall through the net with 0:01 remaining on the clock, effectively sending the game to overtime.

The pair of teams were matching each other blow-for-blow in the overtime period before Northwest stretched its lead out to 70-66.

Jaliscia Florence (Tupelo) got an acrobatic layup to fall, but Pearl River was unable to get another shot attempt, falling to Northwest 70-68.

Washington led the Wildcats in points, scoring 16. Reed finished the night with a double-double, scoring 11 points and dishing out 11 assists. Nichols also collected a double-double, finishing the night with 10 points and 13 boards. 

Pearl River will now turn its attention to the Region 23 Tournament that starts next week.

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