Tide falls to Rocks again

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pic-ayune and St. Stanislaus faced off in one of the biggest prep basketball games in the state Tuesday night.

Unfortunately for the Maroon Tide, the result was the same as the last time the two ranked teams met.

The homestanding Rockachaws bounced back from two straight Division 8-4A losses to knock off the visiting Tide 52-41 at Brother Philip Memorial Gymnasium.

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It gave SSC, ranked ninth in the state by The Clarion-Ledger, a two game regular season sweep over Picayune, after a 53-44 win five weeks ago.

That game was also the last time Picayune, ranked sixth in the same poll, had lost before Tuesday night as the Maroon Tide saw its 12 game win streak come to an end.

Despite the loss, the Maroon Tide stand 19-3 overall and remain in first place in the league with a 6-2 division record.

St. Stanislaus moved to 19-3 overall as well and stands just behind Picayune at 5-2 in league play.

Tuesday’s game was decided during a dominant second quarter stretch by the Rockachaws as SSC outscored Picayune 12-2 in the stanza.

Picayune took a 10-7 lead into the final seconds of the first period, but a lay up by SSC’s Jeremiah Morgan at the buzzer proved to be a ominous harbinger for the Maroon Tide.

The basket propelled the Rocks to a 12-0 run, thanks to some key play by guard Pedro Maciel. Maciel, who had missed the past two SSC games, both losses, with an ankle injury, spurred the run with a couple of baskets, several assists and a few steals as well.

By the time Picayune stopped the run on a shot by Brandon Fortenberry late in the second period, six minutes had passed and SSC had a 21-12 lead.

That would remain the score at halftime, as the Rocks went to intermission up by nine.

Picayune tried chipping away at the deficit as the third quarter unfolded, and managed to cut the SSC lead to five, at 34-39, on a pair of free throws by Wayne Mickel with eight seconds to play.

But again, just as the first quarter ended, the Rocks came up with a big shot as Maciel nailed a long 3-pointer as time ran out in the third frame and the Rocks led 37-29 entering the final frame.

Picayune would manage to cut the deficit to five again in the final period, when Fortenberry capped a brief 6-2 run with a pair of free throws that made the score 41-36 with 4:23 to play in the game.

But that would be as close as the Maroon Tide would get, as St. Stanislaus reeled off nine straight points to take command of the game with a 50-36 advantage with two minutes to play.

A steal and basket by SSC’s Thomas Camargo that he converted into an old fashioned three point play ended the run and sealed the win for the Rockachaws.

Camargo led SSC with a game high 18 points, while Maciel added 13 points in his return to the Rock line-up.

Fortenberry, who managed just two points in the first meeting between the teams, paced Picayune with 15 points while Chris Dees added 11 and Mickel eight to the cause.

Picayune travels to Long Beach for an 8-4A game Friday.