Picayune claims district championship over Hattiesburg, 49-33
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017
For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Picayune brought home the district tournament trophy after beating the Hattiesburg Tigers 49-33 on Friday.
It didn’t take long for the No. 1 seed Maroon Tide to take the lead in Friday’s bout against No. 2 Hattiesburg after limiting the Tigers to just eight points in the first half. Hattiesburg put up a fight in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Picayune as the Tide would eventually hoist the championship trophy.
“We have been working hard for this moment. It was tough last year, but this team is really special and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Picayune point guard Marvun Arnold said.
Picayune conceded eight points in the first half, but came out sloppy in the beginning stages of the third quarter, allowing Hattiesburg to go on a 10-0 run to narrow the Tide’s lead to 23-18 with 2:30 remaining in the quarter.
Picayune responded with a tidal wave of points in the remaining minutes of the game, going on an 11-3 run that extended into the final quarter, forcing the Tigers to shoot from behind the arc. Picayune put Hattiesburg in the rear-view mirror with a 20-point performance in the fourth quarter.
“We have a close knit family on this team. We all play for one another and I think that is what makes us so strong,” Arnold said.
The strong performance by Picayune landed the team a first round bye in the state tournament—and since Picayune has not won a playoff game since the 2007-08 season—this marks the furthest Picayune has gotten in the state tournament in that stretch.
After the game, All-District players were announced, as well as the District MVP and District Head Coach of the Year. The Picayune players that made the All-District team are Marvun Arnold, Ahmad Lathan, Tony Blankenship and Stephane Ayangma. The District Head Coach of the Year was Kelton Thompson after transforming a 12-17 record in 2015-16 to a 22-7 record in his first year at Picayune. The District MVP was given to Ayangma after averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds this season.
“I worked hard for this, putting in my time after practice and making sure I am always at my best for my teammates,” Ayangma said. “I am feeling a lot of satisfaction. This would not have been possible without my teammates. Getting this award makes me believe that we can overcome any obstacle.”
The Maroon Tides’ next hurdle has yet to be determined. Picayune will face the winner of the Pascagoula versus Provine bout, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The winner will travel to Picayune on Saturday at 7 p.m. No. 2 Hattiesburg will face No. 3 South Jones on Tuesday at 7 p.m.