Picayune falls in playoffs

Published 3:41 am Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Picayune’s return to the state boy’s basketball playoffs was a brief one.

The visiting Maroon Tide fell behind Forest Hill quickly, trailing 17-3 less than three minutes into the game, and never fully recovered dropping a 72-67 loss to the Patriots in opening round Class 5A South State playoff action.

The loss ends Picayune’s season at 19-12, while Forest Hill, now 18-12, moves on to the South State Tournament that begins Friday in Waynesboro.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It was the first playoff appearance for Picayune in three seasons.

“We just got too far behind to begin with,” Picayune head coach Jason Kennedy said. “We knew they were capable of hitting from the outside, but they are so quick that you had to try and put some pressure on them out  there as well. They did everything right in that first quarter, and really put us in a bind.”

The Patriots were five of six from 3-point land in the opening quarter, and also forced six Tide turnovers in the process. The result was a 30-10 advantage for the home team after the first period.

William Brown had a trio of 3-pointers for the Patriots early, and Lucious Sterling added a pair as well.

The Maroon Tide fought back a bit in the second stanza, and trailed 43-27 at halftime.

It was the third frame in which Picayune made it’s biggest push, however.

The Maroon Tide used a 21-10 run over the first seven minutes of the second half to close the gap to 53-48 with just a minute to play in the third period.

Courtney Nixon’s 3-pointer and an old fashioned three point play by Marcus Rawls capped the spurt.

But the Patriots responded with five straight points, and despite some scrappy play by the visitors in the final period the Maroon  Tide could get no closer than the final five point margin.

“I am so proud of the guys for fighting back like they did,” Kennedy added. “We could have cashed in our chips, being that far behind in their house. But we didn’t, we showed a lot of character.”

Rawls paced Picayune with 17 points, and Nixon added 14 while Derrione Stewart chipped in 10 for Picayune.

Sterling had 18 for the Patriots, while Brown added 17. The Patriots had four players in double figures.

The game was the last for a quartet of Maroon Tide starters, in Rawls, Stewart, Nixon and J.T. Biggs.

“I feel bad for these seniors, but they helped us get back on that ladder and take that first step,” Kennedy concluded. “Now it’s up to the rest of the guys to take that next step and get Picayune back to where is used to be in the playoffs.”