Ayangma’s early start propels Picayune past Poplarville 65-33

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

 Stephane Ayangma (20) finishes a two-handed dunk against Poplarville Tuesday night. Photo by Taylor Welsh

Stephane Ayangma (20) finishes a two-handed dunk against Poplarville Tuesday night. Photo by Taylor Welsh

The Picayune Maroon Tide men’s basketball team grabbed an early momentum swing after Gary Travis finished a slam dunk in the second quarter, driving the Tide passed the Poplarville Hornets 65-33 Tuesday night.

Tide’s Stephane Ayangma had a dynamic night, scoring 24 points and nabbing 11 rebounds against the Hornets. Travis had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Picayune.

“I thought this was the most active Stehpane has been all season. He’s still trying to get comfortable, but he’s really talented and had a lot of things working tonight,” Kelton Thompson, Picayune’s boy’s Head Basketball Coach said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Poplarville’s leading scorer and only returning player from last year, Tamilijah Merrill, led the Hornets again against the Tide, but Poplarville couldn’t rally against Picayune’s sturdy man-to-man defense.

“They do a good job of playing team defense and we didn’t handle it that well. We started to try to do everything ourselves and that’s not the way to come back. We got to give them credit,” Poplarville boy’s Basketball Coach Chareck Cable said.

To start the game, Ayangma scored the Tide’s first nine points, followed by a 3-point dagger in the final seconds of the first quarter, giving the Tide an early 12-6 lead that progressively increased throughout the game.

Right before halftime, Picayune accelerated their momentum after hitting two consecutive 3-pointers and a rim rattling dunk by Ayangma, making the score 33-19 at the half.

Poplarville had no time to rest, with the Tide taking the court after halftime carrying the same momentum they were riding in the first half, starting the third quarter with another Ayangma dunk, followed by a 3-pointer from Travis on the ensuing possession.

However, the Tide’s determined defensive efforts in the third quarter were what set the tone for the rest of the game.

“In the third quarter, I felt our help defense was much better. We also played great on the ball, which is something we have struggled with recently,” Thompson said. “That is an area we feel that we can be good at every single night. There is no excuse to have an off night defensively.”

Picayune held Poplarville to scoring four points in the third quarter, resulting in a 52-23 score going into the final quarter.

After that, turnovers concluded the Hornets’ night, allowing Picayune to further its lead with multiple fast break opportunities. The final score was 65-33 in Picayune’s favor.

Picayune (6-4) will host East Marion (5-3) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Poplarville (2-5) will host Lumberton on Monday at 6 p.m.