Picayune’s boys basketball looks to build on success from last year

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Despite losing talented players due to graduation, Head Coach Kelton Thompson and the Maroon Tide’s boys basketball team will look to build from last year’s success.

Picayune finished the season with a 22-8 record and a 5-1-region record.

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The Tide won the region 7-5A title and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs but saw its season come to an end after a 63-37 defeat against Provine in the second round of the state playoffs.

“I know what we need to be successful, but that’s up to us,” Thompson said. “We lost a big senior class from last year and some guys that produced for us, so we have to account for a lot of lost production from last year. We have an opportunity to be a really good team, we have an opportunity to be more balanced than last year, but what we do day-to-day will end up defining how successful we’ll be.”

On Thursday, Picayune played its first game of the season against St. Stanislaus and came out on top with a 52-43 victory.

“We turned the ball over a lot, had a couple of breakdowns, some people would say that’s expected in the first game of the season but we’re not really deep right now,” Thompson said. “We’re looking to build some depth and unless we have all the guys show up every night, we’re going to struggle at times. For a first game, it exposed us in some areas where we need to improve, which is a good thing early in the season.”

This season, Picayune will compete in various tournaments such as the Hancock Tournament, the War on the Shore, the Picayune Holiday Classic, the Gulfport Hardwood Classic and the Martin Luther King Classic.

“We take each game one at a time, the next game on the schedule is always the biggest one for us,” Thompson said. “Every game will help us prepare for our region matchups.”

Thompson will look to seniors Delrae Smith, Tony Blankenship and Jordan Griffith for both leadership and production on and off the court. “I expect a tremendous amount of leadership from my seniors,” Thompson said. “Smith, Blankenship and Griffith are players that played significant amount of minutes last year and are guys we’ll look for every night. Marvun Arnold is also a returning starter and we have a sophomore class that’s capable of producing numbers but we’ll need them to learn quickly.”

The Maroon Tide will play its next game on Thursday against D’Iberville.

“Our effort has gotten better since we came back to school, but we have to be more consistent on an everyday basis,” Thompson said. “We’re not really big, we don’t have much size but we have guys that understand how to play and have experience from last year’s team. At this point of the season, we’re looking to be consistent and develop an identity on both ends of the court.”