PRC fall short in Paul Wallace Tournament opening round

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 30, 2016

PRC’s A.J. Banks started the game on fire behind the arc, sinking four 3-pointers and giving them a 25-17 lead at the half. However, the Blue Devils (5-6) were hampered by fouls and unable to hold on to the lead as Vancleave (7-6) came back in the last couple of minutes, beating PRC 39-36 in the opening round of the Paul Wallace Classic on Wednesday.

“We didn’t execute as well as we should have in the second half and that really hurt us down the stretch,” PRC Head Basketball Coach Scott Stevens said.

After the first half, the Bulldogs switched its defensive scheme to a box-and-one, which focused on eliminating Banks’ access to open shots, Stevens said.

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Late in the third quarter and into the fourth Willie Reece, Louis Reece and Banks each tallied four personal fouls during a crucial stretch of the game.

“That made us have to change a few things up, which limits what you can do,” Stevens said.

With the Blue Devils finding points hard to come by, Stevens said rebounding and failing to execute on second chance opportunities led to Vancleave taking a four-point lead with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. At this time, the game came down to free throws.

Vancleave then missed its first one-and-one free throw, which the Blue Devils quickly turned into a scoring opportunity, cutting the lead to one point. However, the Bulldogs made the rest of their free throws, Stevens said, ending the game with a three-point victory.

“If we can rebound better and not let this loss have a snowball effect on us, we will be alright,” Stevens said.

Greene County girls 42, Pearl River Central 35

The lady Blue Devils’ Kayla Ryan led the team with a season high 12 points, but it was not enough to edge out Greene County, losing 42-35 during the Paul Wallace Classic on Wednesday.

Throughout the first half, Greene County kept a short lead against the lady Blue Devils, pacing to a 25-21 lead at halftime.

PRC surged late in the third quarter, cutting the lead to a one-possession game, getting as close as 32-30, but were unsuccessful in tying it up.

“We played pretty well for the first three quarters. We thought that if we could tie the game, it would give us the motivation to come out on top, but unfortunately we were not able to do that,” PRC girl’s Basketball Coach Tony Labella said.

In a two-minute stretch, Labella said sloppy offensive possessions and miscommunication on defense led to a final Greene County run, which put the game out of reach for the lady Blue Devils.

“Greene County is one of the best, if not the best, teams we have played so far. There is a lot we can take away from this game as we head into district play,” Labella said.

The lady Blue Devils (10-4) head into district play on Jan. 6 against Stone County (9-6).