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Rockachaws hold off scrappy Hornets

BAY ST. LOUIS – A sluggish fourth quarter cost Poplarville a chance at an important Region 8-4A win Friday night.

Homestanding St. Stanislaus finished the game on a 15-4 run, and walked away with a 52-45 win over the Hornets at Brother Peter Memorial Gym.

The Hornets fall to 12-9 overall and 2-5 in league play with the loss. The Rocks are 12-8 and 5-2.

“We just have to learn how to handle situations at the end of the game better,” Poplarville second year head coach Chareck Cable, who has only two seniors on his squad, said. “We put ourselves in a position to win several games, but we just haven’t been able to finish. We have to learn to finish the games.”

The Rocks got off to a fast start, taking a 7-0 lead early. St. Stanislaus went on to lead 11-6 after one quarter.

A 3-pointer by Poplarville’s Rojae Raine cut the deficit to 17-13 mid-way through the second stanza, but the Rocks would maintain that lead at halftime 22-18.

It would be the end of the third frame before the Hornets took their first lead of the night, as a lay-up by Keith Dotson put Poplarville up 38-36 entering the fourth period.

Poplarville’s last lead came on another trey by Raine at the six minute mark, that put the Hornets up 41-40. But the Hornets went cold from there, and a 9-2 run by the Rocks over the next five minutes secured the win for SSC.

Raine paced Poplarville with a game high 13 points, and Anthony Martin chipped in 11.

Mitchell Walk led the winners with 12 points, while Jerrod Rigby added nine.

Pearl River Central was slated to host Natchez in a pair of Region 5-5A games Friday night, but the games were postponed due to inclement weather.

Instead, PRC will host Natchez Saturday afternoon, Feb. 1st, with the girls playing at 3 p.m., followed by the boys game at 4:30.

Also, Picayune took on Stone County Friday night. A full report on those games will appear in Tuesday’s issue of the Picayune Item.

The annual Hoopsfest takes place today at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. And although there are no teams from Pearl River County involved in this year’s event, there are plenty of implications for local teams on the hardwood across from the beach today.

The marquee match-up features West Harrison taking on Gulfport. Tip-off for that game is set for 8:30 p.m. That is the last of eight games scheduled on the day.

It’s the only meeting of the season between the two South Mississippi powers. West Harrison is coming off a pair of Region 7-5A wins over Piucayune in the past two weeks, and stands 20-1 on the season. Picayune is the only team to beat the Hurricanes this year.

The West Harrison Hurricanes are looking forward to playing on the big stage at the 2014 Hoopsfest in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Saturday.

Gulfport has won eight boys state championships on the hardwood, and the Admirals hope to be in contention for a ninth in March. The Admirals are 20-2.

The action begins Saturday morning at 9:30 when St. Stanislaus duels Ocean Springs. Then comes the only girls game of the day, when Pass Christian faces Gulfport. That game is followed by D’Iberville and Pass Christian’s boys at 12:30 p.m.

The next games for both the Pirates and Lady Pirates after today will be Tuesday, when PCHS hosts Poplarville in a pair of Region 8-4A games.

The final five games of the day, all boys contests, are Gautier vs. Harrison Central at 2, Moss Point vs. Pascagoula at 3:30, Raymond vs. St. Martin at 5 and Biloxi vs. Blount of Mobile (Ala.) at 6:30 before the marquee match-up wraps this up.

Poplarville will face Moss Point at least one more time this season, and could face the Tigers in the Region 8-4A Tournament next month as well. Moss Point is led by Kentucky signee Devin Booker.