Picayune preparing for Moss Point

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, February 28, 2008

Picayune found out on Tuesday night whom it would face in Monday’s Class 4A State semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum.

And it was an opponent the Maroon Tide hasn’t faced very much, even though both have been basketball powers in South Mississippi over the past two decades.

Picayune and Moss Point will face off at 8 p.m., Monday in the Big House, with the winner advancing to play in the state finals on Friday, March 7.

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Unlike in football, the Maroon Tide and the Tigers have met very rarely on the basketball court with the last time coming in 2005 in the Class 5A South State Tournament in Biloxi when the Maroon Tide came up with a big win.

That meeting, however, was the first in almost 20 years between the two teams on the hardwood.

“We just haven’t played them very many times,” Picayune second year head coach Daniel Kennedy, who was an assistant under the veteran Dean Shaw on that team that beat Moss Point a few years ago, said. “They are a very talented team. They have everything it takes to win.”

Moss Point won its first game ever on Tuesday in the state tournament, beating Vicksburg 63-57.

The Gators were without their Dandy Dozen guard Jonathan Phelps, who injured his knee in the North State finals against New Hope on Saturday and missed the game.

Picayune hopes to break a five game losing streak at the overall tourney as well.

Both teams have a Dandy Dozen pick, in Picayune’s Chris Dees and Moss Point’s Travis Rasco.

Picayune is 32-4 entering the game, and has won four straight South State championships.

Moss Point is 32-5 and is coached by former Kentucky standout Dale Brown.

The Tigers lost twice to St. Stanislaus this season, while the Tide beat the Rocks all four times they played.