Picayune basketball wins first game of the season

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Maroon Tide basketball team started the season on a high note with a victory against Stone County over the weekend at the Gulfport Classic.

Head Coach Eric Vianney and his players have spent hours in the gym preparing for the opening game and the hard work paid off as Picayune won 51-33 against the Tomcats.

Vianney said there was some familiarity between the two teams since they played each other in a summer scrimmage in June.

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Picayune is looking to replace star point guard Marvun Arnold who graduated, and the team did a good job of handling the ball as a group with Arnold being gone.

“We weren’t turning the ball over, we would compete for rebounds. We were just trying to make plays and find a way to be aggressive,” Vianney said.

First game jitters affect most teams heading into the season and that was the case for the Maroon Tide against the Tomcats. However, Vianney said his players remained calm and felt out the game as time went on.

“I think we were nervous, a little bit unsure how the game was going to go. That’s not something you can worry about, you just have to make sure you come out and compete,” Vianney said.

This early in the season Vianney is looking at the fundamentals of the game and making sure his players are executing them.

It’s too early to start making sweeping changes or conclusions, so instead Vianney makes sure his players are doing the little things right.

“It’s a mixed message, we didn’t turn the ball over that much, but they didn’t necessarily press us full court either. The main thing I was looking at was are we competing,” Vianney said.

Small things like handling the ball, contending shots and executing the offense were points of focus for the Maroon Tide. Doing those things correctly was made more difficult as Picayune had to go on the road to take on Stone County. Playing in an opponent’s gym is never easy, and Vianney said it’d be interesting to see how his team handles travel as the season goes on.

“Every year, every group is different. I think last year we played better on the road than we did at home, but this year I don’t know,” Vianney said.

Vianney and his players will have a couple days of practice before the next game. On Nov. 7 Gulfport will travel to Kelly Wise Gym and face Picayune on its home court. Vianney said the upcoming match up would be a good measuring stick to see where his team stands early in the season. “They’re really good and they compete for every possession. They have good length, they’re big. For us it’s going to be a good challenge,” Vianney said.

The game will take place at 7:30 p.m., and while Vianney and his players would obviously like to come out with the win, right now Vianney just wants to see his players make progress every day. “Really I’m just hoping our guys continue to get better and improve,” Vianney said