Maroon Tide wash away Blue Devils in rival bout, 53-32

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stephane Ayangma, 20, passes a defender and finishes around the rim against the Blue Devils.  Photo by Taylor Welsh

Stephane Ayangma, 20, passes a defender and finishes around the rim against the Blue Devils.
Photo by Taylor Welsh

Picayune Maroon Tide center Stephane Ayangma continues to make a case to be the District Player of the Year. Friday night he disassembled Pearl River Central logging 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Tide won 53-32, sweeping the Blue Devils in both matchups this season.

“I come out every night wanting to win. I never want to let my team down and I feel like we can matchup against anyone,” Ayangma said.

With four 3-pointers in the second quarter, Picayune (16-6; 3-1) found early separation from PRC (6-14; 0-5), scoring 16 unanswered points, while allowing the Blue Devils to score two. At the end of the first half, Ayangma widened the Tide’s lead as he nailed a trifecta, ending the half at 30-8.

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The last time these two teams clashed on Jan. 17, PRC was without its leading scorer A.J. Banks, but on Friday night, Banks’ presence was felt in the second half as he attempted to carry his team over a 22-point deficit. However, that goal was too far out of his reach.

Banks could not find open space in the first half due to a firm defensive stand by the Tide’s V.J. Holt and was limited to only one field goal. However, Banks began to find space in the second half, finishing the game with 21 points, 15 of which came from downtown.

“We spoke about resiliency before this matchup because we knew it was what we needed to come out with a victory,” PRC Head Coach Scott Stevens said. “It was a huge task to comeback from being down by 20 points, but I am proud of the team for never giving up.”

In the third, PRC outscored Picayune 14-10, but couldn’t stop Ayangma in the fourth as he punished the Blue Devils’ defense with eight of the Tide’s 13 fourth quarter points.

The Maroon Tide made it hard for PRC to recover with big consecutive plays filling the final quarter from Ayangma and Marvun Arnold. With 4:53 left in the game, Ayangma said he saw a glimpse of weakness as his team mounted pressure on defense. After Holt stole the ball, he dished it to a streaking Ayangma who rocked the rim with a powerful, two-handed tomahawk dunk.

Arnold staged a show of his own in the final quarter as he flew through the lane and scored on multiple acrobatic layups as well as finding Ayangma on an open look from behind the arc to polish the team’s 53-32 victory. Arnold finished the night with 11 points.

“I love the game of basketball and I want to be good at every aspect of it. We work hard in practice and my coach helps get the best out of us every day,” Ayangma said.

Picayune will host Hattiesburg (9-12; 3-1) on Tuesday in a must-win scenario for both 7-5A District teams. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m.

PRC will host Petal (13-7; 1-4) in a non-district matchup at 7:30 p.m.

Lady Tide sweeps PRC 36-36

In another heated rivalry, the Lady Tide came away with another win over the Lady Devils Friday night after outscoring PRC 25-11 in the second half. Miracle Banks launched three 3-pointers during her game-high 18-point bout, which brought home a 36-26 win in Carriere.

“These two wins against PRC are huge for us. We have been on a rollercoaster this season but this gave us a big opportunity to change our identity. The more these girls play together the better they get,” Picayune Head Coach Toby Bush said.

With a four-point lead going into halftime, Lady Devils’ Head Coach Anthony LaBella said his team was exactly where they wanted to be. However, things began to get out of reach after Banks hit a splintering 3-pointer with three minutes to go in the third quarter.

“This is always a tough matchup because you come in knowing it’s going to be close. I thought our girls handled it well, but we got to play better at home,” LaBella said.

Banks’ range on Friday night helped Picayune go on an 11-2 run in the third quarter, but it was Camille Culpepper’s tenacious efforts for the Lady Tide that kept PRC off the boards late in the game. Culpepper finished with 13 rebounds along with four points.

Lady Devils’ point guard Samantha Orgeron sliced her opponent’s lead to two with a layup in the fourth minute of the fourth quarter, but Picayune’s Alanna Smith responded with a deep 3-pointer that gave the Lady Tide a 29-24 lead. After that, a free throw battle gave Picayune enough separation to come out victorious.

The Lady Tide (7-10; 2-2) will square off against Hattiesburg (8-13; 4-0) at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The Lady Devils (13-9; 1-4) will host Petal on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Camille Culpepper, in maroon, guards Brooklyn Howe, 11,  in a packed house at Carriere Friday night. Photo by Taylor Welsh

Camille Culpepper, in maroon, guards Brooklyn Howe, 11, in a packed house at Carriere Friday night.
Photo by Taylor Welsh