Blue Devils fall against Stone Saturday night
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018
WIGGINS — After a 30 minute delay due to a leak in the roof of the gymnasium, Stone brought an end to the Blue Devils’ season, winning 75-57 Saturday night.
With the loss, Pearl River Central finished the season with a 20-8 record, won a first-round matchup against Natchez on Feb. 20 and reached the second round of the state tournament for the first time in recent school history.
“At the beginning of the season, I asked our kids to elevate the program, to take us to the next level and they did that,” Head Coach Scott Stephens said. “I’m proud of those seniors and what they have done for the program and how they have set us up for success in the future and none of this happens without them. They have done a tremendous job of taking us to the next level and we’ll keep working hard and we’ll do our best to build from the success of this season.”
Pearl River Central started the game leading 7-2 early in the first quarter, behind five points from Willie Reece and two from Jason Long.
But the Tomcats chipped away the Blue Devils lead and after a 3-pointer by Cameron McDonald, Stone led 8-7 with 3:22 left in the first.
A minute later, PRC’s AJ Banks tied the game at nine points after converting one of two free throws but seconds later, a successful free throw on the other end of the court by Dalan Breland gave the Tomcats a 9-8 lead with 1:14 left. With one minute left in the quarter, Long scored off a layup and gave PRC a 10-9 lead.
At the beginning of the second quarter, three points by Enrique Whaley and Fred Land each gave the Tomcats a 15-10 lead.
Baskets from Banks, Long and Reece helped the Blue Devils keep a four-point deficit throughout the second quarter but Stone’s McDonald scored eight points in the last minute and half to give the Tomcats a 28-18 lead by halftime.
In the third quarter, Reece scored 10 points, Banks added eight and Caden Thompson had one for PRC and by the end of the third, the Blue Devils trailed 45-37.
During the last quarter of the game, Breland and Parker Owen combined for five points in the first 30 seconds of the period to give Stone a 50-37 lead. Despite a quick 3-pointer from Thompson, Whaley answered with a two-point shot of his own. During the next two minutes of the quarter, the Tomcats went on an 11-4 run, which gave the team a 61-44 lead. During the last four minutes of the game, both teams traded baskets on the court making it difficult for the Blue Devils to cut the double-digit deficit.
Reece finished the game with 22 points, Banks had 16, Thompson added 10 and Long notched nine.
Heading into next season, starters Reece, Ethan Henley and Caden Thompson are expected to be back for their senior year but the team will lose seniors Banks, Long and Holden King due to graduation.
“(Banks, Long and King) have helped us make history here at PRC,” Stephens said. “All three of them have made this season a wonderful ride for all of us and we’re going to miss them. It’s going to take a lot of kids over the next couple of years to come in and make up the difference of what the seniors have been able to accomplish this year.”