PRC’s boys basketball Head Coach Scott Stephens hopes for improvement in his second season

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

Second-year Pearl River Central High School boy’s basketball Head Coach Scott Stephens hopes to improve his team from last year’s showing.

Last year, the Blue Devils finished with an 8-18 overall record and were winless in region 7-5A.

“Implementing a new system the kids have never run before, there’s going to be growing pains,” Stephens said. “There’s going to be times when things aren’t working out as well as you would hope.”

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This year, PRC began the season with a 54-41 victory against St. Stanislaus but lost its next two games against Ocean Springs High School and Vancleave High School. During its next matchup, the Blue Devils earned a victory by two-points against Seminary on the road 46-44, and defeated Forrest County Agricultural High School afterwards. One day after defeating the Aggies, the team dropped its third game of the season in a 30-24 loss against Gautier High School.

In its last two games, the Blue Devils found themselves with victories against Presbyterian Christian and Stone High School.

“I think we started the season by being inconsistent in our performance on the court,” Stephens said. “In the last couple of games, we have done a better job of doing things the right way and it’s starting to pay off in terms of what we see in the win and loss column.”

This season, Stephens will rely on seniors Jason Long and A.J. Banks to lead the team on and off the court.

“Banks, Long and junior Willie Reece are part of our big three on the court,” Stephens said. “ These guys have improved a lot from last year and they have done a really good job this year as well.”

Banks is the team’s leading scorer averaging, 16 points per game. Reece averages 10 points and seven rebounds per game and Long, starting point guard, also averages 10 points per game, Stephens said.

“Ethan Henley, Jonathan Jenkins and Josh Theady, all juniors, have also stepped up and done a great job so far this season,” Stephens said. “Caden Thompson, a sophomore, is playing with the varsity team for the first time and has come in and done a lot of great things for us when he’s on the court as well.”

At the moment, the Blue Devils are only a couple of wins away from last year’s record and the team hopes to become more consistent as the season progresses in order to achieve more victories.

“I think staying on course, doing things the right way and having our system carry over from last year is important for our success,” Stephens said. “Even though we have gotten off to a good start, we take it one game at a time. We don’t want to look down the road and count losses and wins before we play.”

PRC will begin region play in January and will face North Pike High School, Hattiesburg High School and Picayune Memorial High School. The Blue Devils hope to win region 7-5A by season’s end.

Some of the goals this team hopes to achieve include winning the district and winning 20 games.

“So far, there have been some games where we have gotten down and it would have been easy for us to fold and give up on the game. But we have done a great job of getting out of that hole just by playing a little bit smarter and harder and I think that resiliency is going to benefit us down the road,” Stephens said.