Picayune boys leads district, beats Stone 70-51

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2017

For three quarters of the game, Picayune had the lead against Stone County, but in the third quarter, Picayune girls Head Coach Toby Bush said the team lost sight of their most valuable asset, resulting in a district loss to the Lady Tomcats, 39-35.

“We lost our killer instinct in the third, but you got to give Stone credit because they saw it and took advantage of the situation,” Bush said. “We had plenty of opportunities to put the game away in the first half, but we let them hang around instead.”

Bush said the team got out to a great start, scoring almost at will while producing a strong defense to go into halftime with a four-point lead. However, when the team came back out of the locker room, it was a different story.

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The Lady Tomcats scored 21 points in the third quarter, which Bush said was filled with uncontested layups and an abundance of open shots.

“They made us pay on defense,” he said.

Before the Lady Tide knew it, the lead was lost, and developed into an 11-point deficit going into the final quarter, which was too much for Picayune to overcome.

Picayune’s Alanna Smith led the Lady Tide with 17 points while Miracle Banks finished with seven. Camille Culpepper scored six points, teammate Ashlyn Bell notched two and Shamiah Bridges pitched in with three.

Picayune will travel to George County (2-11; 0-4) on Tuesday to get back on track for the following district game against rival Pearl River Central on Friday.

Tuesday’s tip-off will be at 6 p.m.

Ayangma’s big night steers Picayune over Stone County 70-51

The scenario for the Maroon Tide on Friday night against Stone County was immense. Coming into the game, Stone County—alongside Hattiesburg—led the 5A Region 7 District with a 2-0 record, giving Picayune (14-6; 2-1) an opportunity to even the score. The Maroon Tide did not shy away from the challenge.

With a stout defensive effort, and an outing in which nearly everyone was involved offensively, Picayune defeated Stone 70-51.

“This was probably the most complete game we have put together this season,” Picayune Head Coach Kelton Thompson said.

It is no mystery that each of the Maroon Tide’s opponents focus on stopping its star player Stephane Ayangma, but this time around, the 6-foot-6 center had some help from his teammates as the team reached a season-high with 19 assists Friday night.

Marvun Arnold almost completed a triple-double against the Tomcats with nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Ahmad Lathan and Tony Blankenship shot perfectly from the field, both going 4-4. Lathan hit three 3-pointers and finished a three-point play after being fouled on a layup.

Ayangma filled the stat sheet for the Maroon Tide, going 15-17 from the field for 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds along with four assists and five blocks.

“Overall, I am happy with our production, but we still got a lot of basketball to play. Getting everyone involved offensively really opened up the game for us and showed that we can attack anyone from different angles,” Thompson said.

Friday’s game against Stone County was Picayune’s highest scoring display of the season, completing nearly 78 percent of its shot attempts from the field and making six out of eight from behind the arc.

“This was an important win for us, especially on the road. Our goal right now is to get the number one seed for the district tournament and we don’t want to rely on anyone else but ourselves to make that happen,” Thompson said.

The Maroon Tide opened up its scoring frenzy early on, leaving an 18-4 gap between the Tomcats after the first quarter.

After outrebounding Stone 32-18, Picayune was up by 25 in the fourth quarter, but had a late scare in the final stretch.

With less than a minute to go, Stone hit three contested 3-pointers and scored 10 points in a comeback that was a little too late. As time expired, the game ended 70-51.

Picayune will travel to face a tough non-district George County (16-2; 4-0) team on Tuesday. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m.