Mississippi Gulf Coast's men's basketball team jumped back into a first-place tie in the MACJC South Division and clinched a state tournament berth after defeating Hinds 84-80 in Utica on Monday.
The Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker over Jones and Pearl River with one game left in the regular season, but they could finish anywhere from first to fourth.
"I told them after the game if that's not incentive enough to get yourself ready to play, there's no reason to even talk about it," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "We've worked our tails off the last four or five months and we're one game away. If you can't motivate yourself to play that game, we probably don't deserve to be there."
Gulf Coast (18-4, 9-4 South) entered Monday in a three-way tie for second. The other four teams in the top five were playing it each other.
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When the dust settled, there was a three-way tie for first. Jones, which was in first all alone headed into Monday, lost to Southwest, and Pearl River defeated East Central to join the pack at the top.
The Bulldogs used a typically balanced scoring attack to survive some sketch free-throw shooting. Deshawn Jones had 15 points to lead six Gulf Coast players in double digits, with Davion Cole-Johnson adding 13 points.
Maurice Stephens, Anfernee Hampton and Peyton Owen had 12 points, and Eliel Gonzalez chipped in 11.
Gulf Coast hosts Copiah-Lincoln on Thursday in Perkinston on Senior Night.
PRCC clinches playoff berth: Pearl River Community College men's basketball team will get the opportunity to defend its MACJC state championship after the Wildcats clinched a berth in this year's State Tournament with a 68-58 victory over East Central Monday night at M.R. White Coliseum.
The win pulled PRCC into the No. 2 spot in the South Division with one game remaining in the regular season. The MACJC State Tournament will be played next week at Fulton on the Itawamba CC campus.
The Wildcats got a workmanlike performance from star forward Darrlyn Willis, who scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his 14th double-double of the season.
"I'm happy with the guys," coach Chris Oney said. "They hung in there and fought hard. I knew with the focus they had today, that they'd come out and play well, and they did."
Pearl River, which improved to 15-7 overall and 9-4 in the South Division, took command midway through the first half on a 21-7 run to build a 34-20 lead. PRCC led 36-28 at halftime.
Dontellius Ross added 15 points and Cortez Mitchell had 12 points and seven assists for the Wildcats. Randy Phillips scored 17 points to lead East Central (13-9, 8-5).
PRCC will complete the regular season Thursday against Meridian.
Gulf Coast tops junior colleges at Fairhope: Mississippi Gulf Coast's golf team was the top junior college at the Elizabeth Kling Memorial Invitational in Fairhope, Ala., finishing second to NCAA Division III Spring Hill.
Grant Motter finished second after a second-round 75. He was four shots behind Spring Hill's Wesley Hunter, who shot a 67 at the par-72 Rock Creek Golf Course.
Nine teams competed in the tournament. The Bulldogs' Jonathon Newman (74-76--150) finished fourth and joined Motter on the All-Tournament Team. Colin Troxler (77-80--157) finished 16th.
Gulf Coast returns to action March 14-15 in the William Carey Invitational at Canebrake Country Club in Hattiesburg. MACJC play starts back up for the spring April 2-3 in Columbus.
Gulf Coast Soccer programs announce 15 signees: The MGCCC soccer programs announced 15 signees Monday. Both classes have plenty of Coast impact.
Jackie Rhodes signed five players with three hailing from South Mississippi in Stone defender Tekiyah Cooper and Pass Christian midfielders Shannon Swilley and Casey Lafontaine. She also signed Oak Grove duo Lauren Massey and Riann Brock.
"I think this is one of our strongest classes since I've been here," Rhodes said. "It's a solid offensive class we brought in to try to create more offensive threats. Our defense was pretty solid last year, and we're adding some defensive players, but overall we want to create more offense." Boys coach Chris Handy inked 10 players with nine from South Mississippi: West Harrison forward Tylor Davis, St. Stanislaus defender Austin Miller, Pass Christian forward Caleb Counselman, Gulfport midfielder Jared Cumberland, Pass Christian defender Matthew Edwards, Ocean Springs midfielder Gage Johnson, Gulfport midfielder Gage Switzer, Stone defender Case Sloan and West Harrison midfielder Jonathan Page. Handy also signed Florence midfielder Windham Whatley.
"If I were to describe this class in one word it would be versatile," he said. "There are only a one or two players on this list that I could guarantee what position they will play. It is very exciting as a coach to know you have so many versatile players to work with when putting together a line up for next year. "It's a strong class that we are very proud of and we believe will do well at Gulf Coast."