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Lady Devils hang on to beat Picayune, Maroon Tide boys outlast PRC

JUMP SHOT: Pearl River Central's Donte Stephens rises to shoot in Friday night's game against Picayune. The Blue Devils would go on to lose 45-41, giving the Tide their first win of the season. Photo by Dart Spiers

JUMP SHOT: Pearl River Central’s Donte Stephens rises to shoot in Friday night’s game against Picayune. The Blue Devils would go on to lose 45-41, giving the Tide their first win of the season.
Photo by Dart Spiers

Pearl River Central and Picayune renewed their rivalry on the hardwood Friday night. The PRC Lady Blue Devils rallied to defeat the Maroon Tide girls 35-34, and the Picayune boys held on to beat PRC 45-41.

The Picayune Maroon Tide boys earned their first victory of the season against their archrival. The Tide started fast and held the lead throughout most of the contest, but still found themselves trailing to start the fourth quarter.  A 7-0 scoring run with a few minutes remaining to play gave Picayune the lead, and they didn’t lose it again.

Picayune senior forward Hakeem Magee came up big for the Tide down the stretch, scoring seven of the last nine points and shooting 5-of-6 from the free throw line to hold onto the lead and survive the late PRC rally.

The Blue Devils battled their way back from an 11-point deficit early in the game. PRC trailed 15-4 before junior forward Donte Stephens lead a scoring run that cut the Tide’s lead to one and made the score 19-18.

The teams traded baskets until PRC’s Alex Travis stole the ball and laid it in to tie the game at 29-29. Stephens’ free throw on the next possession gave the Blue Devils a 30-29 lead to start the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Picayune trailed by four until Magee and sophomore center Darius Littles took over. Littles had an offensive rebound and putback that put the Tide up by three, and Magee’s free throws put the game out of reach on the next possession.

“To get that first win over your rival, this is huge for us,” said Picayune Head Coach Scott Stephens, “We’re young. I’ve got nine sophomores and a freshman. We’ve just got to grow up.”

 

The Maroon Tide boys play in Bay St. Louis on Saturday, while Pearl River Central travels to Vancleave on Dec. 16.

The Picayune girls got off to a fast start, opening up an 11-point lead in the first half. Picayune’s Maya Whitehead had 10 points in the first half, and finished with 16 total.

Down 18-7 at halftime, PRC girls’ Head Coach Tony LaBella said his team had the option to either roll over or keep playing hard. The Lady Devils responded as Junior Guard Claire Lumpkin hit three consecutive baskets to open the third quarter, including a crucial three-pointer that brought the crowd to life. The bucket finished off a 10-0 scoring run and cut the Tide’s lead to one.

Picayune responded as Whitehead added four more points to help the Tide regain a seven point lead. PRC guard Kim Gutierrez stripped the ball and scored on a fast break layup to cut the deficit to five, and the Tide nursed a 24-19 lead entering the fourth quarter.

With 3:25 remaining, Lumpkin hit another three-pointer to tie the game at 28-28. The teams traded baskets until PRC Senior captain Brandi Lee hit a three-pointer to give the Lady Devils a 33-32 lead with only 29.7 seconds remaining. PRC would gain possession on a tie-up on the ensuing inbound, and Lee was fouled and sent to the line where she drained both free throws to give PRC a 35-32 lead. Picayune scored a desperation two-point basket as time expired after the three-point attempt to tie rimmed out, and the game ended 35-34.

Coach LaBella credited his assistant coach for the team’s conditioning down the stretch, and recognized his senior captain Tyionia Bolar for her tough defense despite nursing an injured knee.

Picayune girls Head Coach Dennis Stevenson said it was tough to have the lead the whole game only to let it slip away at the end, but he gave credit to the Lady Devils for hitting the baskets when they counted most.

The Picayune girls will travel to Seminary for their next game on Dec. 19, while the Lady Devils will host Vancleave at home on Dec. 16.