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PRC basketball prepared for second half of the season

The holiday season didn’t affect the performance of the Pearl River Central boys basketball team as the Blue Devils faced the Lumberton Panthers on Dec. 21, resulting in a Blue Devils win, 57-41.

The day before, PRC lost a close game to Bay 52-48. Head Coach Scott Stephens said there was a little bit of a hangover when the team took on the Panthers the following morning.

A slow start resulted in the game staying close before the Blue Devils flipped the switch and blew by the Panthers.

It wasn’t the ideal beginning to a game for the Blue Devils, but Stephens said that in the second half his players did a better job of pushing the ball.

“We turned it on in the second half and did a better job running the floor and getting out in transition,” Stephens said.

Following the victory over Lumberton, the players will have a short break before participating in the Presbyterian Christian School tournament on Friday and Saturday.

The first game for the Blue Devils will be against the 9-9 Lamar Christian Lions on Dec. 27, followed by a match up against the 5-4 Presbyterian Christian Bobcats on Dec. 28.

The two games will serve as a wake up call after the layoff and prepare the team for the second half of the season.

The large amount of upcoming district games for the Blue Devils means the latter part of the season is where the team’s postseason chances are determined.

Stephens said because the games are right after a break he doesn’t want his players to be slow in coming out of the gate.

“I’d like to see a fast start, a lot of energy. I think some good execution and doing the little things correctly will go a long way,” Stephens said.

While the results of this weekend’s games won’t go in the district column of wins and losses, they’re important stepping stones for the team.

Not only will the games serve as possible confidence boosts for the players, but they also provide Stephens with a way to test certain offensive and defensive systems.

Those systems may later be used in a district game.

Spending the time to properly scout teams and then translate the knowledge gained to the court is tough.

However, it’s the willingness by the players to take every small aspect seriously, which could lead to later success for the Blue Devils, he said.

“Understanding what we’re going up against and understanding what we have to do to combat that, I think that’s the big thing,” Stephens said.

Following the two game tournament, PRC will only have two more match ups before an important district showdown against the Picayune Maroon Tide on Jan. 10.