PRC basketball wins in defensive battle

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Lady Blue Devils played the first of two games in two days on Dec. 19, which pitted them against Belle Chasse and resulted in a Pearl River Central win 34-21.

Neither team shot the ball well, but with seniors Payton Lee and Breyanna Bernard leading the way, PRC was able to start the back to back, or two games in two consecutive nights, on the right foot.

To start the game, PRC did a good job of moving the ball and using off the ball action to create scoring opportunities.

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As the game went on, the Cardinals tightened up on defense, lowering the number of offensive opportunities for the Blue Devils.

Head Coach Tony Labella said his team had the ability to put the game away, but never took advantage of those opportunities.

“We just weren’t consistent with it. It’s one of those things where I think we took a step back and we were lucky they didn’t shoot well. We had a coupleof  chances to take control of the game and we didn’t,” Labella said.

The team’s starting point guard is out with an injury, so freshman Hannah Mitchell was the main ball handler for the Blue Devils.

Mitchell had several good drives into the lane as PRC built an early lead.

As time progressed things got tricky for the Blue Devils when Belle Chasse began implementing a full court press to force some turnovers.

The high press paid off as Belle Chasse was able to get some easy layups off turnovers to cut into the lead.

Turnovers have been an issue for the Blue Devils the past couple of games and Labella said he wants to see his players take better care of the ball.

“Our problem, just as a team, is we’re too careless with the basketball. When we get a lead we know they’re going to press us and we kept trying person after person to move the ball out there,” Labella said.

The team was coming off a solid win against Long Beach and Labella said he was hoping the players would build off that performance.

However, against Belle Chasse the Blue Devils struggled in categories they’re usually proficient in, which has Labella hoping the game against Long Beach wasn’t an anomaly.

“We had one of our better games Monday and I was hoping we could use it to springboard a little bit. I’m hoping that wasn’t a little blip. I’d like to think as you get closer to district every game is a little better,” Labella said.

District games will continue after the start of the new year, but before then the Blue Devils played Bay St. Louis on Dec. 20 before they are scheduled to take part in a tournament on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28.

Labella said the hope of the next couple of games is to get his team prepared for the upcoming district games.

“Just as a whole I’m hoping we do a better job of taking advantage of our chances to play. If the person who was in before you did something we have to fix, then you have to fix it. You can’t go and do the same thing,” Labella said.