Fortenberry turning the tide

Published 12:23 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

Quite often, basketball teams are fortunate enough to possess an inside-outside combination.

Picayune has all that and sometimes more in the same player.

Maroon Tide standout senior Brandon Fortenberry is one of the more versatile players in South Mississippi. Not only can the 6-foot-2 swingman nail the long range jumper, but he is just as likely to work off the dribble and take his opponent strong inside to the hoop as well.

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“Brandon is capable of accomplishing a lot because he is so versatile,” second year Picayune head coach Daniel Kennedy said. “He’s a scorer, and he is able to create a lot of opportunities not just for himself but for his teammates as well.”

Fortenberry was named one of the top 50 seniors in the state by The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson in the pre-season, and he has lived up to the billing. He is averaging 16 points and almost six rebounds per game, while also dishing out more than five assists and swiping just as many steals per game.

“My first thought with the ball is to try and create something,” Fortenberry, who celebrated Senior Night with six other teammates on Tuesday against PRC, said. “I try and keep the pressure on the defense and take what they give me, whether it’s the outside shot or going to the basket or finding a teammate.”

Fortenberry is far from just an offense force, however, according to Kennedy. In addition to his prowess on the offensive end of the court, he has honed his skills without the ball as well.

“The biggest improvement Brandon has made may really be his defense,” Kennedy added. “He has worked really hard to improve.”

Fortenberry and the Maroon Tide stand 23-3 on the year entering a weekend trip to Brandon. The sixth-ranked Maroon Tide will play Northwest Rankin tonight and then play powerful New Hope on Saturday afternoon.

New Hope was ranked as the top team in the state in the pre-season and possess a pair of Dandy Dozen players in center Rashanti Harris and guard Dale Hughes.