Picayune sweeps Pearl River Central

Published 3:46 am Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shemar Williams hit four of six free throws in the final minute and his Picayune teammates completed the task at hand as the Maroon Tide turned back Pearl River Central 70-62 on Friday night.

“Shemar’s just a sophomore,” Picayune coach Jason Kennedy said. “He’s a guy we can count on. We call him ‘The Closer.’”

Picayune rolled to victory in the girls’ game, storming past the Lady Blue Devils 59-24.

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Pearl River Central’s boys squad, which because of MHSAA-mandated forfeits is 2-24 overall and 1-5 in Region 8-5A, pulled within three points of Picayune (21-5, 4-2 in 8-5A) on Connor Ball’s 3-point shot with three minutes left. But Williams then powered his way to a three-point play and the Maroon Tide held on down the stretch.

“Every time we got a little momentum,” PRC coach Austin Alexander said, “they’d hit a big shot.”

PRC will again see the Maroon Tide in first-round play of the 8-5A Tournament on Feb. 7 in Carriere. Ashton Woodson led PRC with 21 points while Ball finished with 19.

Picayune led 31-26 at halftime and kept the Blue Devils at arm’s length in the third quarter, when both teams started to find their range from the 3-point line.

Williams led the Maroon Tide with 18 points. Teammate Justin Mark finished with 14 points and helped Picayune maintain a decided rebounding advantage. The Tide’s Eric Payton nailed a baseline jumper as  the horn sounded to end the first quarter and added 11 points.

“We just had to be patient tonight,” Kennedy said. “We haven’t shot free  throws very well lately, so I’m proud we did better there. We knew (PRC) would play with a lot of emotion, so we had to stay composed and let the chips fall.”

Picayune’s girls (19-5, 4-2 in Region 8-5A) used a suffocating defense to limit PRC to 11 points in the first half, and the Lady Blue Devils (4-20, 0-6) managed just three points in the third quarter.

“We try to jump on people early, and wear them down defensively,” Picayune coach Lacy Kennedy said. “I really like our team’s conditioning.”

PRC’s Jessica Powers blocked at least seven shots but the Maroon Tide was relentless on the offensive boards. Picayune’s Tee Myers scored 20 points and teammates Sahara Wilson and Jazz Ducre each finished with seven.

“This team really does what we ask them to do as coaches,” Lacy Kennedy said. “T. Myers is a workhorse on the boards.”

Powers led PRC with nine points.

Picayune and PRC take a break from 8-5A play this week before the district tournament. The Blue Devils play host to Forrest County on Tuesday, while Picayune is at home against Petal.