Picayune seal No. 1 seed in district after 58-42 victory against Stone
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The Maroon Tide’s win against Stone County on Friday night means Picayune (18-7; 5-1) solidified the No. 1 seed for the 7-5A District Tournament. Nothing was going to take that away from Maroon Tide’s Stephane Ayangma, especially on senior night.
“Coming into this game, we knew that all the other wins didn’t matter. We set a goal to be ranked number one in the district and the team was determined to get it,” Ayangma said.
The Maroon Tide center dominated the paint, finishing with 30 points and 19 rebounds—including 12 points and 10 rebounds with 5:03 to go in the second quarter—to give Picayune a 58-42 victory over Stone (13-12; 3-3).
From an outside perspective, Picayune might come across as a dynamic team, involving arguably the best player in 5A Mississippi basketball, but Ayangma has a different outlook.
“Every time I get the ball, there are at least 3 defenders around me or looking at me. They think I am the only one, but we have a lot of weapons on this team that can do some great things,” he said.
Picayune got out to a quick start in the first quarter, setting up Ayangma with eight points and five rebounds in the first three minutes of the game. However, the Tomcats would sporadically retaliate with a 3-pointer that would slow the Maroon Tide offense. Stone finished the first half with five of the team’s eight 3-pointers to walk into the locker room with a 20-17 lead over Picayune.
The Maroon Tide went on an 11-2 run late in the third quarter to take the lead to 35-27, and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Maroon Tide then added 24 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 points from Ayangma and five points and three steals from Marvun Arnold.
Arnold finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Tomcats’ Enrique Whaley finished with 13 points.
Picayune traveled to Lumberton (3-11; 2-5) on Monday. The team will round out the regular season at Hancock (3-22; 0-6) on Feb. 10.
Lady Tide found its groove in win over Stone, 48-29
The Picayune Lady Tide clicked on all aspects throughout Friday’s bout against the Lady Tomcats. From displaying great ball movement to finishing play after play, Picayune ran out to an early 9-1 lead with 1:44 to go in the opening quarter, leaning on Alanna Smith who hit a trifecta as time expired to end the first quarter. Seven of Smith’s 15 points came in the opening minutes.
“That was some of the best ball movement we’ve had all year. We looked under control and were patient on the offensive side of the court, which saves energy for defense,” Picayune Head Coach Toby Bush said. “We want to play some of our best basketball going into the district tournament; if we can do that, great things will come our way.”
The Lady Tide was active on both sides of the court, conceding only seven points in the first half while tallying 26 points of its own.
As Picayune stormed the court to begin the second half, smiles shone on each of the player’s faces as the team began to feed off of each others emotions to finish out the game.
“This is a young team, so when they are feeding off of each others positivity, we are almost a different team. But we also have to keep our emotions in check in order for us to get where we want,” Bush said.
Picayune’s Smith ended with 15 points, four assists and two rebounds. Meanwhile, Camille Culpepper tallied six points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Picayune (8-11; 3-3) played a non-district away game at Lumberton (6-14; 5-3) on Monday, and then will travel to Hancock (9-17; 0-6) to end the team’s regular season campaign on Feb. 10.