Maroon Tide boys win Picayune Christmas Tournament

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ROCK THE RIM: Stephane Ayangma flushes an alley-oop in the second quarter in the Picayune Christmas Tournament championship game against Lafayette.

ROCK THE RIM: Stephane Ayangma flushes an alley-oop in the second quarter in the Picayune Christmas Tournament championship game against Lafayette.

The low scoring championship game of the Picayune Christmas Tournament was anything but a walk through the park for either team. However, after allowing only two points in the first and third quarters and a game-changing alley-oop from Tide’s Gary Travis to Stephane Ayangma, Picayune won its second tournament of the year, 39-28 against Lafayette.

“It’s always great to win because the kids learn what it takes to win bigger tournaments down the road,” Picayune Head Basketball Coach Kelton Thompson said. “The next tournament will be the district championship so hopefully there are more trophies to come.”

Both teams began the game with little offensive production. With 3:12 to go in the first quarter, Ayangma broke the ice with a long 3-pointer, bringing the Tide to 3-0. The defensive effort from Picayune sealed this win, preventing Lafayette from scoring in the first quarter.

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“We just need to get more consistent. At times we show what we are truly capable of doing, but other times we get complacent,” Thompson said.

In the second quarter, a quick Lafayette comeback was halted after Travis lobbed an alley-oop pass to Ayangma, who punished the rim with a baseline dunk, ending the half 18-10.

Following their shutout in the first quarter, Picayune allowed only a pair of free throws in the third quarter to Lafayette. However, offensive production was hard to come by in this game, and the Commodores did not give up in their fight to get back into the game.

In the fourth quarter, Lafayette outscored Picayune 16-10, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of production in the first three quarters—in which they scored 12 points.

Tide’s Travis had eight points while Tony Blankenship had six. Lafayette’s leading scorer was Keilan Buford with eight points. Commodores’ Artarius Owens had five points.

Picayune (12-4) will travel to St. Stanislaus (5-10) on Jan. 6 before jumping into district play against Hattiesburg (3-10) on Jan. 10.

Lafayette girls beat Picayune 63-30

Commodores Shaniyah Buford’s 20 point outing pushed Lafayette over Picayune 63-30, winning the Picayune Christmas Tournament on Friday.

The high-powered Commodore offense was hard to handle for the Maroon Tide right out of the gate, allowing Lafayette to get an early 13-3 run late in the first quarter. After trailing by 20 points, the Tide gave up careless turnovers and fell further behind as Buford hit a long 3-pointer two feet away from half court to put her team ahead 21-3 after the first quarter.

“Lafayette could very well win the state championship this year. They are a great team,” Picayune girl’s Head Basketball Coach Toby Bush said. “We are a young team, so getting this experience is very helpful in our production in the long run.”

The Commodores did not let off of the gas in the Picayune Christmas Tournament championship game, as they went on another offensive run to start the second half, going 10-2 and expanding the gap to 44-11 with 4:42 to go in the third quarter.

With little time to spare, Picayune went on their own 10-0 run in the fourth quarter, but ran out of time to mount a comeback. Picayune’s Shamiah Bridges had 10 points while teammate Camille Culpepper had six.

Picayune (4-8) will travel to Bay St. Louis to play Our Lady Academy on Jan. 6.