Blue Devils fall to LBHS

Published 5:46 pm Thursday, February 15, 2007

Over the last seven minutes of Pearl River Central’s game against Long Beach Tuesday, the Blue Devils dominated the Bearcats.

It was the first 25 minutes of play that was the problem for PRC, and kept the local squad from qualifying for the Class 4A state playoffs.

Long Beach jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and eventually went up by as much as 16 early in the final period, en route to an exciting 62-59 win over PRC in the first round of the Division 8-4A Tournament.

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With the win, the Bearcats move on to face top-seeded Picayune on Thursday, while the Blue Devils see a once promising season come to an end.

“We definitely dug ourselves too big of a hole,” PRC second year head coach Alan Lumpkin said. “We came out scared to lose, instead of wanting to win. You can’t spot a team that many points in a district tournament and expect to win.”

And that many points would be 16, which PRC trailed by within the first few seconds of the fourth period.

Long Beach actually jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead over PRC, and the margin stayed that for most of the first half before the Bearcats took a 31-19 lead into halftime.

“We were tentative, not aggressive we didn’t come to play.” Lumpkin, who will say goodbye to five seniors, said. “We were the only team in the division to be able to put five seniors on the court at the same time. We should have played much better than we did tonight.”

The Blue Devils did play much better in the fourth period, as PRC went on a 22-6 run that would eventually tie the game at 55-5- with two minutes to play.

The run started with back to back dunks by Brandon Truman and a big 3-pointer by Bradley Baker.

But Reggie Fowler would do the most damage for PRC, as the senior was unconscious in his final game by drilling five 3-pointers, including a trio in the final stretch in the final frame.

His last long range trey made the count 55-55, but PRC could never manage to take the lead.

“It just took too much out of us to come from that far behind,” Lumpkin added. “I was very proud of the way these guys came back in the last quarter, we really made a game out of it. But we should have never been that far behind to begin with.”

Long Beach made just 5 of 13 free throws in the final two minutes, but PRC still couldn’t take the lead

Both Truman and Cody Ladner, who provided some key momentum for the Blue Devils in the fourth period, fouled out.

Long Beach’s Nick Brown made two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win.

Truman and Fowler scored 17 each to pace PRC, while Baker added 14.

Jeremy Hill scored a game high 24 for Long Beach and Brown added 17.