Junior Colleges

Gulf Coast pulls off OT thriller against Pearl River

Gonzalez and Jones
Gonzalez and Jones

Deshawn Jones' heroics at the end of regulation and Eliel Gonzalez's work in overtime propelled Mississippi Gulf Coast to a 105-97 victory over archrival Pearl River.

The victory Tuesday in Poplarville got the Bulldogs (13-1, 4-1 MACJC South) back in the win column after their first loss of the season, a double-overtime defeat to Southwest. It also snapped a seven-game Wildcats win streak and created a three-way tie for first in the MACJC South Division between Gulf Coast, Pearl River and Southwest.

"We're in a good spot," Bulldogs coach Wendell Weathers said. "I like where we are. I'm happy where we are. I'm maybe a little surprised at where we are."

PRCC falls to 10-4.

Gonzalez came off the bench and led Gulf Coast with a season-high 27 points. Jones added 23, and Tedrian Brisco had 19, also off the bench.

Tuesday was an adventure for Gulf Coast. The Bulldogs dug a big hole early, then leading-scorer Davion Cole-Johnson was thrown out of the game after his second technical midway through the first half.

Anfernee Hampton, the second-leading scorer, also sat a bulk of the opening 20 minutes with foul trouble, but the Bulldogs came back to lead 50-40 at halftime.

Hampton didn't play much after the half, again with more foul problems. He and Cole-Johnson combined for 12 points.

"We were able to run our offense and play through other kids. I thought we had a really good team effort tonight," Weathers said. "We played 85 percent of the game without our two leading scorers and still scored 105. We've got capable kids."

Pearl River took the lead back 82-80 on a 3-pointer with 2:27 left and extended the lead to four on a layup 30 second later.

After a PRCC free throw, Gonzalez hit a bucket with 22.4 seconds left.

When the Wildcats made only one of two free throws with 12.1 seconds left, Jones nailed a long 3 beyond the top of the key with 4.4 seconds left to force overtime.

"I just told them, you've got to get a 3-point shot. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out," Weathers said. "Shawn had a pretty good luck, maybe a little bit further out than we needed to be. At the end of the day, the Good Lord smiled on us."

Gulf Coast took control in overtime, getting out to a 100-91 lead after Gonzalez's last bucket over the extra session. He had 11 points in overtime.

"E is a very talented kid," Weathers said. "Keeping him under control is the biggest problem we have with him. He's very, very talented. It's not a matter of can he do it; it's a matter of if he can do it his way."

PRCC women 60, MGCCC 57: Mississippi Gulf Coast led Pearl River for much of the first three quarters, but could not close out the game Tuesday in Poplarville.

The Lady Wildcats defeated the Lady Bulldogs 60-57 after Gulf Coast's Ka'Nosha Fairley's 3-pointer at the buzzer barely missed.

"I thought a couple of breaks late didn't go our way," Gulf Coast coach Jason Conner said. "There were some things we should have handled better, but didn't."

Gulf Coast lost its third straight to fall to 9-5 overall, 1-4 MACJC South. Pearl River improved to 5-8, 2-3.

Markeisha Watson was the only Lady Bulldog in double figures with 23 points. She also tied with Tiana Dampeer with a team-high seven rebounds.

Kailin Young had nine points and six rebounds for Gulf Coast.

Gulf Coast had a big deficit at the free-throw line, making 6 of 10. Pearl River was 17 of 25 from the line.

Still, the Lady Bulldogs had their chances.

"We had easy looks late and we just missed them," said Conner.

Gulf Coast trailed 59-54 with 43.3 seconds left before Watson hit a 3-pointer.

The Lady Bulldogs sent Akayla Powell to the line with 3.5 seconds to play, but she made only one free throw.

Gulf Coast advanced the ball to half-court with a timeout, getting the ball to Fairley for the finale.

"She got a decent look at," Conner said. "If we'd have gotten a good pick, we would have had a better look. She could have squared and got her feet set."