Picayune’s road to Jackson comes to an end, losing to Provine 63-37

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Picayune’s Tony Blakenship gets bombarded by Ram defenders during Saturday’s loss to Provine.
Photo by Taylor Welsh

Picayune’s historic season came to an end Saturday night as the Maroon Tide lost its first and final home game in the state tournament to the Provine Rams, 63-37.

Picayune’s Marvun Arnold started the game with an acrobatic layup to put the first points of the game on the board, but unfortunately that was the only lead the team would have after multiple Provine players got on hot streaks from behind the arc.

However, the Tide kept it close, battling for momentum after Arnold threw an alley-oop to a lurking Stephane Ayangma, who snatched the ball with one hand and slammed it home, firing up the home crowd with 6:50 to go in the first half.

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After that, the Maroon Tide rode that wave all the way to halftime, bringing the lead down to just nine points, 30-21.

However, uncharacteristically missed assignments on defense by Picayune led to a quick Provine scoring spree, outscoring the Tide 16-5 in the third, and mounting a 20-point lead as the teams headed into the final quarter of the contest.

Valiant efforts from Tide’s Stephane Ayangma and Arnold shook the Rams’ in the initial minutes of the fourth quarter, tallying a quick seven points after Arnold hit a 3-pointer from afar.

Ayangma troubled the Rams on defense after swatting away two consecutive shots down low and transitioning the ball to get two quick scores late in the game for Picayune. That, on top of another authoritative slam dunk by Ayangma, was still not enough to take the lead from the Rams. The Tide fell 63-27 as the final buzzer sounded. Arnold ended the night with 11 points and two assists. Ayangma led the Tide with 13 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

Picayune’s season ended Saturday night, but the team still managed to earn a 22-8 (5-1) record, winning all three tournaments including the Hancock Tournament, Picayune Christmas Tournament and the 5A Region 7 District Tournament this season. The Tide also accumulated multiple awards throughout the season. Ayangma received the District MVP award after leading his team to become district champions while averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. Picayune Head Coach Kelton Thompson received the District Coach of the Year in his first year at Picayune, transforming a losing record of 12-17 from last year to a winning record, which included six and seven-game win streaks and an undefeated record at home. It was also the first time Picayune has won the district tournament since 2008.


Stephane Ayangma goes up for a monster dunk in the second half of Saturday’s playoff game.
Photo by Taylor Welsh

Delrae Smith, 10, crosses through a couple of defenders to finish at the rim.
Photo by Taylor Welsh