Lady Devils’ 31 turnovers ends in 44-17 loss to Hattiesburg

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lakyn Spence sinks a midrange shot while being double-teamed in recent action. Photo by Taylor Welsh

Lakyn Spence sinks a midrange shot while being double-teamed in recent action.
Photo by Taylor Welsh

Pearl River Central boys ended their five game stretch of away games on a bad note, losing 63-38 to Hattiesburg Friday night in a hunt for its first district win of the season.

From having key players missing game due to illnesses, injuries or suspensions, PRC has not been able to play in consecutive games where the same starting lineup take the court together. For PRC Head Coach Scott Stephens, this is a major reason why the Blue Devils have struggled to find consistency this season.

“It’s rough when you have to change philosophies and line ups almost every night,” Stephens said. “But we showed glimpses of how good we can be if we maintain our normal lineup.”

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The game began in the Blue Devils’ favor as they went up 11-6 in the first quarter, but everything headed south once the third quarter commenced.

“We got away from what we were trying to do,” Stephens said. “In the third, we started to force things instead of just letting them happen, which is something we have to change.”

What could have been an opportunity for the Blue Devils’ first district win turned into another defeat, but Stephens said he remains positive for the final games in the regular season.

“It’s not an easy road ahead of us, but being home will be the biggest thing for us to get back on our feet,” he said. “Having home court advantage is a great thing because it brings familiarity and composure to the team.”

Pearl River Central (6-12; 0-3) will play its first game at home in almost a month against district opponent Stone County (12-9; 2-1) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Lady Devils’ 31 turnovers ended in 44-17 loss to Hattiesburg

After coming off of one of the biggest wins of the season, the Lady Devils hit a major roadblock against the Lady Tigers Friday night, losing 44-17.

The Hattiesburg Lady Tigers runs a 2-2-1 full-court press with a team full of young, athletic players that can give many teams trouble for four quarters, PRC Head Coach Anthony LaBella said.

“They forced us to be where they wanted us to be instead of us being where we wanted to be,” LaBella said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was just a great performance by Hattiesburg.”

The Lady Tigers began the game with their fast-paced press that immediately put the Lady Devils in a bind. As a result of turning the ball over 31 times, the Lady Devils felt the game quickly slip away from their fingertips as the scoreboard showed 15-1 after the first buzzer sounded.

The Lady Tigers (7-12; 3-0), who are the defending district champions, never switched out of the press, demonstrating a fast paced transition on both ends of the court that PRC could not adjust to, LaBella said.

“These girls are great at making corrections. Hopefully we can learn from this and do better when we play them at home,” he said.

After shooting 23 percent, LaBella also said he hopes to compliment the team’s stout defense with an efficient offensive game.

PRC’s Kayla Ryan led the Lady Devils with seven points Friday night.

The Lady Devils (13-7; 1-2) will host another district game against Stone County (10-11; 1-2) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.