HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It's cliche, but expect the fur to fly in Ellisville come Thursday night. Jones County Junior College and Pearl River Community College will meet with much more than bragging rights, and potentially postseason implications, on the line.
JCJC only has two blemishes on its schedule, but both came out of conference and to nationally ranked opponents. The Bobcats boast a 4-0 South Division record and are coming off a 82-70 road win over Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The visiting Wildcats, meanwhile, boast the best record in the state at 12-1, and are also unbeaten at 4-0 in South Division play. "It's a big game, and it's created a lot of excitement," says PRCC head man Richard Mathis, "People have asked me when we play Jones, and when we play Thursday night, I guess that will decide who's number one in the South."
Round one of this year's 'Catfight' will also be the first for Jay Ladner, but no one has to remind him of the rivalry. "I'm new here. It's my first year, but I grew up in the area and when these two schools meet up in any sport, it's going to be a dog fight, a cat fight, or however else you want to characterize it," says the first year Bobcat head man.
"(It's big) certainly because of the stakes tomorrow night, and because somebody will be in first place."Still plenty of basketball to play after Thursday night's matchup, including a rematch of the two in Poplarville on Feb. 18, but it may be worth noting that the winner of the South Division will host the state tournament.
Both are hoping to put their best paw forward.
Tip off is set for 8:00 pm.