By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
The Pearl River Central girls are in the South State playoffs for the first time in four years.
The Lady Devils knocked off Long Beach 47-33 in the opening round of the Division 8-4A Tournament. The win moves PRC into Friday nights finals at 6 against top-seed West Harrison, and ensures the Lady Devils a spot in the playoffs which begin on Monday.
Caroline Lumpkin paced a balanced PRC attack with 16 points in the win, while Jessica Powers and Brandi Lee added 11 apiece.
“We knew coming into the season that we had the team that could make the playoffs if we played together and worked hard,” Lumpkin said. “We just take it one game at a time, we aren’t satisfied just making the playoffs. We still have work to do.”
Lumpkin and Lee each sank a pair of shots apiece in the first quarter, as the Lady Devils took a 9-3 lead entering the second quarter.
PRC’s Sabrina Miller nailed a 3-pointer to make it 14-7, but Long Beach’s Shante Draughn and Tramaine Marshall each hit trey’s to draw LBHS with 16-13 with a minute to go before halftime.
But Lumpkin drove inside and converted a pair of baskets in the lane in the final minute, to put the Lady Devils up 20-13 at intermission.
Powers, who didn’t score a point in the first half, came alive in the third frame and she tallied 10 points in the quarter, including six straight at one point, as the Lady Devils began to take control.
Lumpkin’s steal and lay-up with six minutes left in the game gave PRC a 15-point cushion, at 40-25, and Long Beach never got any closer.
In addition to her 16 points, Lumpkin grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assist for the winners. Powers also recorded eight blocks and had eight boards.
Marshall score 16 points for Long Beach.
The season came to an end for the Picayune girls in the first game of the day, as the Lady Tide fell to West Harrison 62-34.
The Lady Tide hung with the top-seeded Lady Hurricanes early on, as Maya Whitehead sank a pair of baskets in the first quarter and Picayune trailed just 9-8. But the Lady Hurricanes steadily began to take control, and ended the first frame on a 6-0 run to make it 15-8 entering the second stanza.
That run swelled to 18-0 at one point, and the Lady Hurricanes found themselves in control at 27-8 with four minutes to play before halftime. A driving lay-up by Picayune’s Jada Simmons ended the spurt, but the damage was done and WHHS took a 34-13 advantage into intermission.
Simmons cored 16 for Picayune, while Jazmine Hatcher led WHHS with 12 points.
Picayune finished the season at 2-18, but had no seniors on the roster.
“We’re young, but I am proud of them,” Lady Tide head coach Dennis Peterson said. “Everyone of them improved throughout the year. We just didn’t play very well tonight.”