PRC and Picayune basketball teams split series

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

CARRIERE — Picayune Memorial High School’s boys basketball team earned its first district victory of the season after defeating the Blue Devils 62-42 in a packed gymnasium Friday night.

For the Maroon Tide, Marvun Arnold led the team with 28 points, Sergio Williams had eight and Vandell McGill, Jalen Hall and Delrae Smith each finished with six.

“I’m struggling to find one phase of the game where we excelled or played well,” PRC Head boys basketball Coach Scott Stephens said. “Picayune played great defense and I really thought they wanted it more than we did.”

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In the first quarter, two 3-pointers by McGill and one from V.J. Holt helped the Maroon Tide jump to an early 11-4 lead in five minutes of play. Towards the end of the first, PRC’s Willie Reece scored off a lay-up in an effort to cut the team’s deficit, but Picayune’s Hall was able to sink a two-pointer to give the Maroon Tide a 13-6 lead.

Picayune (14-5, 1-1 Region 7-5A) increased its lead to double-digits in the second quarter after outscoring the Blue Devils 18-11. Of the 18 points, Arnold scored 10 points, with six of those points coming from two 3-pointers. Williams added six and Jordan Griffith had two. On the other end of the court, AJ Banks had nine points in the second quarter for PRC and Reece added two.

Both teams were able to find the net early in the third quarter, as each offensive possession ended in a successful shot. But it was during the last two minutes of the third when Arnold scored seven straight points to give the Maroon Tide a 46-26 lead and put the game out of reach for the Blue Devils.

During the last quarter, both teams had over five different players score points and each team scored 16 points. For the Maroon Tide, Hall, Griffith and Williams finished the fourth quarter with two points each, Melvin Rankin had one and Arnold added seven points. Meanwhile, Reece scored six points in the last quarter for PRC, Banks and Ethan Henley had three points each and Jason Long and Caden Thompson had two points each.

The Maroon Tide will host its next district matchup against North Pike High School Friday night and the Blue Devils will host Hattiesburg High School the same night. Tip-off for both games will at 7:30 p.m.

For the Blue Devils, Banks finished the game with 16 points, Reece had 15 and Long had four.

— Lady Devils 39, Lady Maroon Tide 33: In a game where neither team could pull away from the other, successful free throws down the stretch by the Lady Devils brought the team to a 39-33 victory.

For the Lady Devils, Harlee Davis scored 17 points and Lakyn Spence added 12. During the second half, Breyanna Bernard and Samantha Orgeron scored three points each and Madison Gower had two.

After the first quarter, PRC held a 7-6 lead but the Lady Maroon Tide bounced back and led 13-12 after two quarters of play.

A 3-pointer from Spence and two points from Davis helped PRC take a 17-13 lead through the first two minutes of the third quarter. Afterwards, the Lady Maroon Tide (8-10, 0-2 Region 7-5A) responded with five points of their own, to take an 18-17 lead with five minutes left in the quarter. The next three minutes of the third quarter were a defensive battle with neither team being able to turn an offensive possession into points on the board. Before the end of the quarter, Alanna Smith shot four successful free throws for the Lady Maroon Tide and Davis scored five points for the Lady Devils as both teams headed into the fourth quarter tied at 22.

After both teams traded baskets with 5:58 left in the game, the Lady Devils headed to the free throw line. At the line, Davis was 6-for-6, Orgeron shot 3-for-5 and Bernard was 1-for-2. During the stretch of 10 successful free throws for PRC, the Lady Maroon Tide was only able to score five points as its chances of a victory slipped away.

Smith led the way with 11 points for the Lady Maroon Tide, Shamiah Bridges had nine and Camille Culpepper finished with eight.

The Lady Devils (14-5, 1-1 Region 7-5A) will play its next district matchup at home against Hattiesburg on Friday at 6 p.m. and the Lady Maroon Tide will host North Pike High School on the same date and at the same time.

“This was a matchup between two really good defensive teams and we made some plays at the end that proved to be the difference. We have struggled with free throws all year and this was a great time to have some success with them,” PRC Head girls basketball Coach Tony LaBella said. “This is a big win for us because we played at home and I know when we go to Picayune it’s going to be another hard fought game. So far, we’re undefeated at home and that record is going to be tested Friday against Hattiesburg but I feel good about this win, we definitely needed it.”