CLINTON --- The Holmes Community College Bulldogs jumped out early on the Pearl River Community College Wildcats and led for 39 minutes before the Wildcats were able to tie the game at 72 with one minute left in regulation and again at 74 with 44 seconds to force the game into overtime. Holmes then outscored the Wildcats 18-13 in overtime to pull out the first Region XXIII title ever for the men's basketball team at Holmes Community College.
With the win, the Bulldogs, now 23-6 overall, wait and see who they will play in the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas beginning on March 16 and going through March 21. The brackets will be released on Monday. Tournament information will be posted at http://www.njcaabbtrny.org/home1024/homepage.htm.
Holmes jumped out to an eight-point lead at 18-10 with 12:40 to play in the first half when Jarvis Williams hit a bucket for the Bulldogs. The Wildcats pulled to within two points at 18-16 when Dontellius Ross hit a three-pointer with 12:07 to play in the first half.
The game remained within four points until the 7:41 mark of the first half when Marcus Washington hit a bucket to put the Bulldogs up by six at 26-20. The lead increased to 10 points at 32-22 with 5:03 to play when Cedric Harper stole the ball and later converted the shot on the offensive end for the Bulldogs.
With 47 seconds to play in the half, Edward Davis hit a three-pointer to put the Bulldogs by 14 at 45-31. D'Angelo Richardson then hit a three-pointer as the first half ended to give the Bulldogs the 48-31 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs then came out after halftime and led by 18 points two different times before the Wildcats mounted their second half comeback. Holmes led 50-32 on a bucket from Dietrich Taylor with 19:07 to play in the game. Daryl Macon then hit a three-pointer with 17:26 left in the game to give the Bulldogs the 55-37 lead over the Wildcats.
Holmes held a 12-point lead with 9:29 left at 67-55 left in the game on a bucket from Washington and again with 8:58 left when Taylor hit a bucket to make the score 69-57. The Wildcats then began chipping away and had cut the lead to seven points at 71-64 with 6:22 to play on a bucket from Teddy Scott. The Wildcats cut the lead to one at 71-70 with 3:04 to play when Cortez Mitchell hit two free throws. Mitchell then hit two free throws to tie the game at 72 with 1:11 to play.
Macon hit a bucket to put the Bulldogs back up by two at 74-72 with 56 seconds to play before the Wildcats tied the game on two free throws from Ross with 44 seconds left. Ross was later called for a charge just before regulation ended.
In overtime, Macon gave the Bulldogs the lead with 3:57 left at 76-74 before Ross hit two free throws to tie the game at 76. Pearl River got their first lead with three minutes to play when Malik Clements hit two free throws to put Pearl River up 78-76. Washington tied the game for Holmes at 78 and the Bulldogs went up by as much as six points with 1:01 to play at 85-79 when Macon hit a three-pointer. Macon iced the game with two free throws with seven seconds left giving the Bulldogs the five-point lead as overtime ended.
Washington led the Bulldogs with 22 points while Macon had 21, Richardson had 16 and Harper had 12. Washington finished with 11 rebounds.
For the game, the Bulldogs shot 54 percent from the floor (34-of-63), 45 percent from the three-point line (9-of-20) and 60 percent from the free throw line (12-of-25).
Mitchell led the Wildcats with 21 points while Ross had 17, Scott had 14, Clements had 12 and William Brown had 11. Scott had 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.
For the game, the Wildcats shot 40.8 percent from the floor, 14.3 percent from the three-point line and 77.1 percent from the free throw line.