By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Visiting West Harrison took the battle for first place in Region 8-5A over Picayune Tuesday night.
The Hurricanes jumped out to as much as a 16 point lead in the first half, and eventually survived several Maroon Tide rallies to pull out a 75-62 win at Kelly Wise Gym.
The win moves WHHS to 17-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, while Picayune falls to 14-5 overall and 2-1 in the district.
Harvey Smart and Deshun Jones each nailed 3-pointers early in the game, as the 'Canes took a 16-4 lead. Smart tallied 11 points in the first half, and after leading 33-16 mid-way though the second stanza, the Hurricanes settled for a 39-30 halftime advantage.
Shemar Williams scored eight straight points to end the first half for Picayune, and his dunk in the final seconds helped the Maroon Tide cut the deficit to single digits at halftime.
Tommy Nuccio hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the third frame, and Picayune cut the Hurricane lead to 48-43. Picayune would cut the deficit to that same margin, five points, on two other occasions, but never get any closer.
Williams tallied a game high 26 points to pace Picayune, while Donovan Rice chipped in 15 points. Smart led a balanced Hurricane attack that placed all five starters in double digits with 20 points.
In the girls game, West Harrison maintained possession of first place in Region 8-5A after the first session of round robin action, as the Lady 'Canes beat the Lady Tide 57-36.
Despite Picayune's Maya Whitehead scoring six points in the first half, WHHS took as much as a 12 point lead but Jada Simmons grabbed a steal and layed the ball in with one minute to play before halftime and Picayune cut the deficit to 25-16. The Lady 'Canes, though, led 27-17 at intermission.
West Harrison opened the second half with an 11-2 run, including Kim Calhoun's third 3-pointer of the game, and took control of the game at 38-19 with three minutes left in the third frame.
Picayune never cut the deficit to less than 14 points the rest of the way.
Whitehead tallied 17 points to pace Picayune, which dropped to 0-3 in league play. Jazmine Hatcher scored 17 points and Calhoun added 14 points for WHHS, which moved to 3-0 in league play. Calhoun beat Pearl River Central on a last second shot Friday night.
The Lady Devils bounced back from that loss, though, with a 51-40 win over visiting Long Beach Tuesday night.
Caroline Lumpkin poured in a game high 30 points for PRC, as the Lady Devils moved to 2-1 in Region 8-5A play. Brandi Lee added nine points, and Jessica Powers added six points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots for PRC.
Dennan Seal scored 30 points as the PRC boys won 84-48.
Both PRC teams host West Harrison on Friday, while both Picayune teams host Long Beach on the same night.
Also on Tuesday night, Poplarville picked up a big Region 8-4A win on the road as Alex Travis hit a jump shot with seven seconds left to lift the Hornets to a 49-48 win over St. Stanislaus. A full report on that game will appear in Thursday's edition of the Item.