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Maroon Tide falls to fifth-ranked West Harrison in Region 7-5A showdown

James Pugh On the move: The Picayune girls dropped a game to league leading West Harrison Tuesday night and now will host Stone County Friday night at Kelly Wise Gym in a big Region 7-5A contest.

James Pugh
On the move: The Picayune girls dropped a game to league leading West Harrison Tuesday night and now will host Stone County Friday night at Kelly Wise Gym in a big Region 7-5A contest.

By Curtis Rockwell

Picayune Item

Picayune has faced fifth-ranked West Harrison three times this season in boys basketball.

The Maroon Tide is hoping for a fourth shot.

The visiting Hurricanes moved to 19-1 on the season Tuesday night, pulling out an exciting 58-54 win over Picayune at Kelly Wise Gym.

West Harrison’s only loss of the season came to Picayune in Kelly Wise almost a month ago in the finals of the Picayune Christmas Tournament.

But the Hurricanes bounced back and have knocked off the Maroon Tide twice in the past 10 days. A possible fourth meeting, in all likelihood, would take place in the Region 7-5A Tournament finals. West Harrison is hosting that event next month.

“This one hurts a little,” Picayune head coach Scott Stephens said. “I’m proud of our kids, they busted their tails out there tonight. There was just several different little things that we didn’t get done that cost us the game.”

Picayune led 19-9 after one period, in part thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the buzzer by Matthew Adams.

But an 11-0 run in the second stanza put the Hurricanes right back into the mix, and West Harrison out-scored Picayune 22-11 in the quarter and went on to lead 31-30 at halftime.

The teams went back and forth for most of the second half, with neither being able to take control. West Harrison led 44-42 entering the final frame.

West Harrison eased out to a 57-52 lead with a minute to play, but Picayune’s Shemar Williams dropped in a jumper to make it a 3-point deficit. A defensive stop by Hakeem Magee gave the Tide the ball back, but Donovan Rice missed a jump shot and the Hurricanes hauled in the rebound. Deshaun Jones nailed a free throw with eight seconds left to seal the win for WHHS.

Picayune falls to 10-10 overall and 1-3 in league play, while the Hurricanes are 20-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 in the district.

Williams paced Picayune with another double-double, tallying 16 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Magee added 12 points and eight boards, while Jonathan Baker chipped in eight points. Rice had six assist, but scored just six points which is almost 11 fewer than his per game average.

Jones led the Hurricanes with 15 points, while Zeke Lee and Gabe Barber each chipped in 12 points apiece to the winning cause.

The West Harrison girls also remained perfect in league play, with a 53-38 win over the Lady Tide. Asia Thibodeaux scored 23 points and Jasmine Dorr 10 for the Lady ‘Canes, who move to 11-6 overall and 4-0 in league play.

Maya Whitehead tallied 13 points for Picayune, which stands 1-3 in district play.

Both Picayune teams hosts Stone County Friday. Stone swept Long Beach in district play Tuesday night.

In other local action Tuesday night, Bay High swept Poplarville and Perry Central swept two games from Paerl River Central. A full report on those games will appear in Friday’s issue of the Picayune Item.