Blue Devils move on to the championship game; Maroon Tide, Lady Devils and Lady Maroon Tide fall in first round

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

HATTIESBURG —Pearl River Central High School’s varsity boys basketball team advanced to the Region 7-5A championship game after defeating North Pike High School 51-47. This was the third time the Blue Devils beat the Jaguars this season.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 41-points but 3-pointers by Ethan Henley and A.J. Banks helped the Blue Devils obtain a 47-41 lead with 5:53 left in the game. In the minutes that followed, Alijah Martin, K.J. Nobles and Da’Veon Mason combined for five points for the Jaguars and cut the team’s deficit to only one-point.

With 2:20 left in the game, Jason Long was unable to complete a three-point play but by scoring off the layup, he gave PRC a temporary 49-46 lead. Seconds later, Antonio Robinson headed to the foul line for North Pike and successfully shot one of two free throws. The last two minutes of the game remain scoreless until PRC’s Willie Reece successfully sank both of his free throws and secured a 51-47 win for the Blue Devils. For PRC, Banks scored 20 points, Reece had 12 and Caden Thompson scored nine.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I feel pretty good after this win but we didn’t play well tonight and North Pike was well coached, they had a great game and they definitely gave us some problems,” PRC boys’ basketball Head Coach Scott Stephens said. “I feel good about where we are at the moment and we have to go back to work tomorrow and prepare for Hattiesburg on Friday.”

With the win, the Blue Devils (19-6) secured a home-playoff game to be played later next week. Also, PRC will face Hattiesburg Friday at 7:30 p.m. for the Region 7-5A championship.

The first quarter of the game finished with both teams tied at 17 points. Banks scored 11 points and Thompson and Reece had three points each for PRC. At the end of the second quarter, the Blue Devils held a 32-27 lead but North Pike outscored PRC 14-9 in third, which tied the ballgame at 41-points heading into the fourth.

Jason Long finished the game with seven points and Henley scored three.

— Lady Jaguars 45, Lady Maroon Tide 43: Despite a 36-point performance in the second half for the Picayune girls basketball team, North Pike defeated the Lady Maroon Tide 45-43 in the first round of the Region 7-5A district tournament.

At halftime, the Lady Jaguars held a 21-7 lead but six points from Shamiah Bridges and three points each from Alanna Smith and Miracle Banks helped the Lady Maroon Tide outscore North Pike 12-9 in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter began with both teams trading baskets until Picayune went on a 12-1 run and tied the ballgame at 37 points with 1:53 left in the game. But unfortunately for the Lady Maroon Tide, North Pike successfully shot eight of 13 free throws during the last minute and half of the game and even though Smith was able to score five points in the last 10 seconds of the game for Picayune, the Lady Tide still fell.

For the Lady Maroon Tide, Smith scored 20 points, Banks had 10 and Shamiah Bridges scored six.

With the loss, Picayune (11-14) will face PRC Thursday night at 6 p.m., the winner will earn a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs.

“We had a really good comeback in the second half but the first half killed us. At halftime, we made some corrections on both ends of the court but the main thing was that we had to pick up the intensity and we did a little bit of it in the third quarter,” Picayune girls basketball Head Coach Toby Bush said. “Give North Pike credit, Janiesha Mccray hit the free throws that they needed, she was the difference in the game. Hopefully we don’t put ourselves in another situation like this one on Thursday but this is a tough learning experience. I was proud of the effort the girls showed in the second half.”

—Lady Tigers 48, Lady Devils 30: The Lady Devils were held to single digits in the first three quarters of the game and were defeated 48-38 by Hattiesburg Tuesday night.

Seven points from Harlee Davis helped the Lady Devils jump off to an early 7-2 lead in the first quarter.

Despite the early run by the Lady Devils, Hattiesburg went on a 9-2 run and held an 11-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. Lakyn Spence scored the other two points for the Blue Devils in the quarter.

The Lady Tigers outscored PRC 14-6 in the second quarter, 12-5 in third and 11-10 in the fourth.

Davis and Spence finished the game with nine points each, Brooklyn Howe had four and Amy Mitchell, Lindsay Kyle, Lindsey McCurdy and Breyanna Bernard scored two points each.

— Tigers 56, Maroon Tide 43: The Picayune Memorial High School boys basketball team lost 56-43 against Hattiesburg in the first round of the Region 7-5A tournament.

Marvun Arnold scored 12 points, Jordan Griffith and Delare Smith each had eight and Jalen Hall notched five.

Also, Sergio Williams and Brian Bickham had three points each and VJ Holt and Kobe Jones added two points each for the Maroon Tide.

Picayune (18-10) will face North Pike Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. for a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs.

— Meanwhile in Lawrence County, both basketball teams from Poplarville High School saw their season come to an end after losing in the first round of the Region 7-4A tournament. The Hornets lost 61-47 against Greene County and finished the year with a final 4-18 record.

On the girls side, the Lady Hornets lost 37-26 against Forrest County Agricultural. The team finished with a 5-17 overall record.

“I don’t think we finished the season like we wanted but the team members are eager to work hard and improve heading into next season,” Lady Hornets Head Coach Robin Jeffries said. “We plan on playing in various summer leagues in order to acquire more experience.”