POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River women's basketball team's 2020-21 signing class is off to a strong start with its first two additions. Coach Scotty Fletcher announced Tuesday the addition of guards Rachel Hightower of DeSoto Central and Amaijah Smith of Gulfport.
The Wildcats believe they're getting a steal with Hightower, who underwent a seven-month recovery from ACL surgery prior to her junior season. Despite the injury, Hightower was still one of the more electric players in her region.
During her first two seasons at DCHS, Hightower was among the team's leading scorers. She averaged 7.1 points per game with 3.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 steals. As a sophomore, Hightower averaged 7.0 ppg with 2.9 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.6 spg.
"We are excited to welcome Rachel and her family to the Wildcat family. Rachel is a dynamic guard who will have an immediate impact on our campus, community and program. Both Rachel and Amaijah match what our president, Dr. Adam Breerwood, and institution stand for: Pride, respect, class and character," Fletcher said. "She is a strong combo guard with good size. Her ability to shoot the ball and get to the basket will be something our team will benefit from.
"I would also like to give praise to Coach Lyons in doing a fine job of identifying her and getting her to campus. It's always an added bonus when we can use the whole state and resources offered to keep a talent such as Rachel in state."
Smith is one of the top players in South Mississippi. Following last season, Smith was selected to compete in the annual Mississippi Association of Coaches North-South All-Star Game.
"Amaijah is an exceptional young lady who we are really excited about adding to our program," Fletcher said. "I am very familiar with Gulfport's program and the job Coach (Brooke) Glass does preparing her players for the life of a college student athlete. I have already given her the nickname 'spark-plug' because of her tenacity on defense and how she 'sparks' her team with her style of play.
"I love her decision making in the open court and I believe her best basketball is ahead of her. We are extremely excited she chose Pearl River as her home.
During her junior season with the Admirals, Smith averaged 13.2 points, 2.8 steals and 2.5 assists.
By: Patrick Ochs
Pearl River Community College
Director of Marketing & Communications