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PRC beats Poplarville in basketball rivalry game

The Pearl River Central Lady Blue Devils took on the Poplarville Lady Hornets Tuesday evening in a game that resulted in PRC winning the match 50-17.

PRC built an early lead, a situation Poplarville Head Coach Robin Jeffries said resulted from her team’s energy not being good enough.

“We played PRC with not a bit of energy. I don’t think we ever got started,” Jeffries said.

Meanwhile PRC’s Head Coach Tony Labella said the game against Poplarville was another step in the right direction for his team.

Labella said the Lady Blue Devils struggled to play two good games in a row, but after defeating Picayune last week, PRC put in another good performance against the Lady Hornets.

“We showed when everything is right we can string a couple together. They were mentally really focused,” Labella said.

Senior Payton Lee led the Lady Blue Devils on the floor with her scoring and tenacity.

Labella said Lee’s energy is infectious and can rub off on other players in a positive way.

“One of the things with (Breyanna Bernard) and Lee is it’s not like they’re going to be flashy and not do the little things right. They know we have to do those little things if we want to win,” Labella said.

Tuesday’s game will be the only meeting between the two teams this season, so now the players are looking to future match ups.

Poplarville is preparing for an important district game against the Purvis Lady Tornadoes that will take place on Jan. 17 at Purvis.

The Lady Hornets have a 2-2 district record and a win against Purvis could move Poplarville into third place in their six team district.

PRC’s players on the other hand will be focusing on their upcoming home game against Hattiesburg, which will also take place on Jan. 17.

Both games are set to begin at 6 p.m.

Jeffries said her team needs to rediscover the energy and execution it had in previous wins.

To help with that Jeffries said she’s going to simplify her team’s game plan.

The hope is with fewer sets and play calls in their heads, the Lady Hornets’ athletes will play freely.

“I’m going to minimize their thought process and have them just play instead of think. We just need to come back,” Jeffries said.

For the Lady Blue Devils, Hattiesburg will represent a new challenge in the form of the Lady Tigers’ 6’2 center who was nominated to participate in the 2020 McDonald’s All American Game.

The All American game is a match that includes some of the top high school prospects from across the nation.

Labella and his team knows the challenge they’re about to face, so the recent performances will serve as a boost of confidence heading into the district match up.

“Hattiesburg has been so good over the years, we have to play really well to be competitive. But they know the way we’ve played the last couple games if we keep the turnovers down we can play with anybody,” Labella said.