© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl. A meter-long, 23-liter EJ-309 liquid scintillator detector has been constructed to study the light collection and pulse-shape discrimination performance of elongated scintillator cells for the PROSPECT reactor antineutrino experiment. The magnitude and uniformity of light collection and neutron-gamma discrimination power in the energy range of antineutrino inverse beta decay products have been studied using gamma and spontaneous fission calibration sources deployed along the cell axis. We also study neutron-gamma discrimination and light collection abilities for differing PMT and reflector configurations. Key design features for optimizing MeV-scale response and background rejection capabilities are identified.