PRCC playing championship basketball before Hutch

Not the typical start for Pearl River men’s basketball, beginning the season with a record of just 4-2.

Now you might say, what’s wrong with that, well those were the first two losses before Christmas under Head Coach Chris Oney since his first year in 2016.

The Wildcats responded by running the table in league play with a perfect 14-0 mark, part of their current stretch in which they’ve won 20 out of their last 21 games, including the Region 23 Tournament title.

That was their ticket back to Hutch for the third time in four years, despite not getting to play in 2020 due to COVID-19.

In this case, all those cliches about blood, sweat, and tears are actually true, but PRCC wouldn’t have it any other way. Forward Ankerion ‘Noodle’ Gross said, “We started 4-2, man, so it was like everybody believed that – everybody thought that we weren’t going to be the same team. Everybody thought that we had fell off. But Coach Oney always just kept it in us, kept driving us to be better, to be better every day and we’re just trusting in his word.”

Head Coach Chris Oney said, “I said earlier in the year that luck runs out, but hard work kind of sticks around. And that’s just the fiber that these guys are made with and that’s the core of this program. We don’t sit around and make excuses or come up with reasons why it didn’t happen. We figure out what the problem is and we go to work and fix it. And there were a lot of times this year that we were down and could’ve just given up or fought until the end and we did. And we came out victorious more times than not.”

17-seed PRCC takes on 16-seed Moberly Area out of Missouri in the first round at 10 a.m. Monday. It’s the program’s third-time ever qualifying for Hutchinson, Kansas.

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