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Both Picayune teams open playoffs in Pascagoula

PASCAGOULA — For the first time in several seasons, both the girls and boys teams from Picayune have qualified for the Class 5A South State basketball playoffs in the same season.

And, ironically enough, both the Lady Tide and Maroon Tide return to the postseason not only in the same season, but on the same night and at the same site.

Both Picayune teams travel to Pascagoula tonight, with the Lady Tide tipping off against the Lady Panthers at 6 p.m., and the Panthers taking on the Maroon Tide following that game at 7:30.

Both Pascagoula teams are the Region 8-5A champions, and both Picayune teams finished as the runner-ups in Region 7-5A.

The Maroon Tide lost to fifth ranked West Harrison in exciting fashion 58-55 Friday night, while the WHHS girls handled the Lady Tide easily 70-37.

Meanwhile, both Pascagoula teams beat their rivals from Gautier for the third straight time this season Friday night. Both Gautier teams travel to West Harrison tonight in playoff match-ups.

The Panthers held the Gators to just two field goals in the second and third quarters, on their way to a 41-33 victory in the Region 8-5A championship game. The win was the third this season over Gautier for Pascagoula, which won its 15th straight game and is region champion for the third straight year.

Jacques Belford was the lone player in double figures with 13 points for Pascagoula, which is now 21-6. Picayune stands 16-13 overall.

Pascagoula’s leading scorers, forward Bobby Nettles and senior point guard La’Datren Deas, scored just six and four points, respectively. Nettles averages 13 points and Deas 11 points per game for the Panthers.

Panther head coach Ron Norman praised Deas’ ability to distribute the ball in traffic.

“He’s not a kid that can always make great offensive plays, but he can dominate a game just by passing the ball,” Norman, who is in his first year at the helm of the Panthers after building a powerhouse at Wayne County, said. “Right there down the stretch, all those buckets came from assists from him for the most part.”

In the girls game, Pascagoula finally took control with an 8-0 run in the third quarter, on the way to a 49-36 victory and its third straight region championship.

Kesi Bradley led Pascagoula with 14 points, while KaNosha Fairley and Aliayah Tubbs added 11 each. The Lady Panthers are 17-7 overall, while the Lady Tide stands 9-17. Pascagoula has won 13 straight games, and 15 of its last 16 games.