Poplarville ends Picayune’s season

Published 1:13 am Thursday, February 12, 2009


Item Sports Editor

BAY ST. LOUIS — Poplarville made Picayune history Monday night. Literally and figuratively.

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The Hornets nipped the Maroon Tide 57-55 in the opening round of the Division 8-4A Tournament, ending a 12 year run of postseason play for Picayune.

The win moves Poplarville to 6-19 on the year, and allows the Hornets to qualify for the Class 4A South State playoffs that begin next week.

The loss ends a 35 year streak of winning seasons for Picayune, which ends the season at 11-13. The Tide’s last losing season on the hardwood came in 1974.

Picayune had also won four straight South State championships.

“I told them that this was a fresh start for us, nobody had any wins or losses,” Poplarville first year head coach Kwame Smith, whose team had lost two close games to Picayune this season, said. “It was win or go home, and we didn’t want to go home yet.”

Hornet freshman Jalen Raine scored a team high 18 points, including a pair of free throws with four seconds left to make it 57-52 and seal the win.

The freebies came just seconds after Picayune, trailing 55-52, made a big defensive stand only to lose the ball out of bounds on the Tide’s end of the court.

“That turnover was big, but that didn’t beat us,” Picayune first year head coach Tom Taylor, whose team lost its final three games of the season, said. “Poplarville is a competitive team, and they came up with a few more loose balls than we did. I think they competed a little bit harder than we did tonight.”

Poplarville went on a 10-0 run, with Lavelle Henry and David Gilmore scoring five points apiece, to take the lead for good at 50-45 with less than two minutes to play.

Derrione Stewart scored inside for Picayune to cut it to 51-50 with 1:15 to play, but Raine calmly converted an old fashioned three point play to push the lead back to 54-50 with less than a minute to go.

Gable tallied a game high 23 for the Maroon Tide, while Stewart added 8.