Reece takes matters into his own hands with last second 3-point play against Petal

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

Although the team was down for the majority of the game, the Pearl River Central varsity basketball team showed the resiliency Head Coach Scott Stevens has been asking for all season, ousting Petal 56-55 Tuesday night.

PRC overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to bring the score within one point with five seconds remaining, at which time a fouled Petal player was sent to the foul line to shoot one-and-one free throws. After making the first shot, giving Petal a 55-53 lead, he missed the second, which bounced off the rim and fell in Willie Reece’s hands. With little time to spare, Reece sped the length of the court, attacked the paint and was fouled while finishing at the rim, giving him an opportunity to seal a victory for the Blue Devils with one free throw.

“I was content with going into overtime. I told the guys to attack during the final moments of the game and the defender gave Willie some contact,” Stevens said.

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Reece took advantage of the opportunity, sinking the game-winning free throw and leaving no time for Petal to answer.

Reece ended the night with 20 points while leading scorer A.J. Banks racked up 25.

“Willie has come a long way; I mean, he’s just a sophomore,” Stevens said. “We ask a lot out of him and although he does have a lot of development ahead of him, he has done a great job of improving his craft and causing matchup problems for the opposition.”

On Friday, PRC will host the 7-5A No. 2 Hattiesburg Tigers, which Stevens said he is looking forward to.

“If we can handle the pressure like we did last time and get better at rebounding, we could come out on top,” Stevens said.

Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m.

Injury ridden Lady Devils fall to Petal 35-27

With the Lady Devils’ senior leader Kayla Ryan out for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL, and starting point guard Samantha Oregron out with a high ankle sprain, PRC still gave Petal a run for its money, closing a gap as small as two points, but failed to get over the hump.

Lady Devils starting guard Lakyn Spence also left Tuesday’s game early because of illness, PRC Head Coach Anthony LaBella said.

“We are battling more with ourselves than worrying about the competition right now,” LaBella said, referring to the team’s injuries.

After PRC rearranged the starting lineup, the team kept the Lady Panthers in striking distance, but as the clock died down, so did the Lady Devils’ chance of victory. Late in the fourth quarter, Madison Gower jumped into a passing lane to steal the ball, turning it into a potential 3-point play after being fouled during a fast break layup. Gower cut Petal’s lead to 29-27, but after her attempt to sway the momentum, the Lady Panthers went on a 6-0 run to round out the contest.

Petal’s Jada Arrington scored 19 points, including a key 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give her team a nine-point cushion.

Lady Devils’ Harlee Davis led PRC with 10 points, shooting 4-4 from the free throw line. Two Lady Devils had career highs Tuesday night, including Gower with six points and freshman Payton Lee, who scored six points while leading the team with nine rebounds and three steals.

PRC will host Hattiesburg on Friday at 6 p.m.