Overtime thriller ends in Picayune beating George County, 61-58

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

Although Picayune (15-6; 2-1) trailed George County (16-3; 4-0) throughout the entirety of Tuesday night, the Maroon Tide pursued a late fourth quarter run that pushed the game into overtime. In the end, Picayune prevailed to win, 61-58.

Stephane Ayangma capped the Tide’s victory after shooting 17-21 from the free throw line, and 5-6 in overtime. He ended the night with a game-high 34 points and 14 rebounds. The Tide were without its starting point guard Marvun Arnold, who leads the team in minutes played, throughout all of regulation due to a suspension.

Going into the fourth quarter, George County had a one-point lead over Picayune, but after a quick run, the Maroon Tide moved to seven points ahead with more than half of the quarter remaining.

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“We started to play complacently down the stretch and let them back into the game,” Picayune Head Coach Kelton Thompson said. “It was like we were playing to not lose, instead of playing to win.”

Then, LaRaymond Spivery led a Rebels comeback that nearly bested the Maroon Tide. However, Picayune sent the game into overtime, 51-51.

The overtime score never exceeded a one-point lead for either team, Thompson said, but the Maroon Tide managed to get on the scoreboard first, which set the tone for remainder of the game.

The Tide’s Tony Blankenship came in clutch during extra time, tallying both assists to Picayune’s only two field goals in overtime.

When the Maroon Tide was up by two with 10 seconds left, Arnold was sent to the foul line, and made one free throw, giving Picayune a three-point lead. The Rebels’ Spivery quickly sprinted the ball down the court and hurled a 3-point attempt that rattled out of the rim, ending the game 61-58. Spivery finished the night going 12-29, 2-11 from the arc, for 30 points, six assists and six steals.

“We are getting to a point where we are judging our game with other great teams in the state,” Thompson said. “A win on the road versus a quality team is a great testament to what I have been preaching to these guys. They showed a lot of character, which has been on the top of the conversation all year long.”

The Picayune Maroon Tide is tied for first in the district as the team prepares to head to Carriere on Friday for round two of the in-county rivalry against Pearl River Central.

“This is a huge game for us because our destiny is in our hands,” Thompson said. “The district tournament is going to be held there so we have to figure out a way to play well in their stadium. It’s not going to be an easy game for us.”

Picayune travels to PRC (6-13; 0-4) Friday night at 7:30.