Local teams all come up short

Published 7:01 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

STANDING TALL: Picayune’s Shemar Williams and his Maroon Tide teammates took on West Harrison in the Region 7-5A finals Friday night. Photo by James Pugh

STANDING TALL: Picayune’s Shemar Williams and his Maroon Tide teammates took on West Harrison in the Region 7-5A finals Friday night.
Photo by James Pugh

GULFPORT — There seems to be something about facing teams from Pearl River County in the finals of the Region 7-5A basketball Tournament that just sits well with West Harrison.

For the second consecutive season, both WHHS teams swept a pair of Pearl River County teams in the title tilts of the event.

The Lady Hurricanes got things tipped off with an easy 70-37 win over Picayune Friday night, while the Hurricanes followed with a nail-biting 58-55 win over the Maroon Tide.

Both Picayune teams will travel to Pascagoula Tuesday night to open the Class 5A South State playoffs.

Last year, at Picayune High, both West Harrison teams knocked off teams from Pearl River Central in the district championship games.

In the boys game, Picayune led throughout most of the first half. A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Shemar Williams gave the Maroon Tide an 18-15 advantage entering the second period.

Williams scored 13 points in the first half and Donovan Rice added eight points as Picayune took a 30-26 lead into halftime.

West Harrison played without its leading scorer Harvey Smart for most of the third quarter due to an injury, but still rallied behind eight points from Deshaun Jones to take a 42-41 lead entering the fourth frame.

The fourth period was a back and forth affair, with the teams exchanging leads numerous times.

Zeke Lee gave the Hurricanes the lead for good with less than a minute to play on an old fashioned three point play to make it 56-54.

Both Rice and Williams missed 3-pointers in the final seconds that would have tied the game.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better effort out of the kids, they played their hearts out,” Picayune second year head coach Scott Stephens said. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way at the end of the game. That’s about all you can say.”

Lee lead a balanced attack for WHHS with 17 points, while Willliams had a game high 24 points for Picayune and Rice added 21 points including four 3-pointers.

• For the second straight game in the tournament, the Lady Hurricane blew out of the gate to take a commanding lead. Asa Thibodeaux and Kim Calhoun each nailed 3-pointers, and 6-foot-4 center Amesha Williams added a pair of baskets inside as West Harrison jumped out to a 12-0 lead mid-way through the first period.

The lead reached 17-0 before Picayune’s Brandi Magee put the Lady Tide on the board with a free throw, and the Lady Hurricanes went on to lead 19-1 entering the second stanza.

“We just had too many butterflies early on,” Picayune head coach Dennis Peterson said. “They are hard enough to beat to begin with, but when you let them get a lead like that, especially at home, it’s almost impossible to overcome.”

West Harrison began Tuesday’s semifinal win over Long Beach with an 18-0 spurt to open the win.

Jada Simmons and Maya White head each registered baskets early in the second period, and Picayune cut the deficit to 19-5.

But Calhoun hit another trey, and Williams continued to use her height advantage inside for several additional baskets and the Lady Hurricanes responded with a 10-0 run to make it 29-5.

The Lady Tide never cut the deficit below 15 the rest of the way.

Williams led WHHS with 24 points, while Whitehead paced Picayune with 14 points.

• In other local action, Poplarville’s girls fell to Moss Point 43-28 Friday afternoon in the consolation game of the Region 8-4A Tournament that took place at Bay High.

Poplarville will travel to either McComb or North Pike Monday night to open the Class 4A South State playoffs.