Picayune looking for trip to finals

Published 12:33 am Sunday, March 2, 2008

Prep basketball history will be made this week.

The question is, will it be a group of seven seniors from Picayune helping the Maroon Tide re-write the record books?

Of the four teams left battling for the Class 4A state championship, none of the quarter of Picayune, Moss Point, New Hope or Ridgeland have ever won a state title on the hardwood.

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But one of those will do just that Friday night.

First up, though, will be the semifinals that decide who will face off in the title game and the Maroon Tide and Moss Point are first up Monday night at 8 p.m., in the Mississippi Coliseum.

Picayune is 32-4 entering the game, and has won four straight South State championships and five of the last six as well.

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

New Hope and Ridgeland face off Tuesday afternoon in the other semifinal.

Moss Point broke their o-forever streak in the Big House on Tuesday night, beating Vicksburg 63-57 in the quarterfinals.

“We need to get off to a good start,” Picayune second year head coach Daniel kennedy said. “You do worry a little about the momentum that they might have gotten from already playing a winning a game. That’s just something we’ll have to deal with.”

Kennedy and his troops fell to eventual champion Jackson Lanier last year in the semifinals, after having a six day lay-off after winning the South State title.

The previous two years, Kennedy was an assistant under the veteran Dean Shaw when Picayune had lay-offs of five days and and 10 days before falling to Indianola Gentry and Jackson Murrah, respectively, in the semifinals.

“We are taking a little different approach this time,” Kennedy said, of the Maroon Tide’s preparation. “In the past I think we were a little worried about getting somebody hurt while we were off, but this time we have decided to just go about our regular routine and practice just like we would all season long.”

The Tide’s top seven players comprise that senior class that will look to end a five game losing streak in the Big House and put Picayune in the state finals for just the third time in the past four decades.

“Moss Point makes you do things differently because of their athleticism,” Kennedy concluded. “We need to play our game and dictate the pace and not all them to do it.”