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PRC girls basketball falls to Hattiesburg

Pearl River Central’s Lady Blue Devils basketball team fell to the Hattiesburg Lady Tigers 54-21 on Jan. 17.

Hattiesburg’s Maliyah Grayson gave the Lady Blue Devils some trouble on the block as she had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior Payton Lee led the Lady Blue Devils with 10 points, but she was the only player in double figures for PRC.

Heading into the game, PRC was prepared physically and mentally for a tough test against a talented Hattiesburg team.

Twenty turnovers cost the Lady Blue Devils, and Head Coach Tony Labella said he wasn’t happy with his team’s confidence level during the game.

“As a team we played a little tentative. Some of the mistakes we made were just (us) making some poor decisions,” Labella said.

The Lady Blue Devils typically excel defensively and can shut down opposing offenses.

Against the Lady Tigers, Labella said the defense wasn’t the issue.

“I wasn’t too displeased with defense, but on offense the good passes that we had made in the past couple games we didn’t make,” Labella said.

Next up on the schedule for the Lady Blue Devils is a matchup with the Hancock Lady Hawks on Jan. 21.

The Hawks will present a different kind of challenge for PRC.

Hattiesburg’s offense is centered on their post players, but Hancock doesn’t have that luxury.

The Hawks instead focus on using motion and screens to create opportunities for open three point shots and driving lanes.

Labella said defending screens and having the proper defensive positioning in those scenarios has been emphasized in practice.

“(They’re) a different team. What they do is they don’t have a post player like Hattiesburg, but they kill you with motion,” Labella said. The team has an important district game against the Picayune Maroon Tide on Jan. 24, so it would be beneficial for the Lady Blue Devils to have a good performance against Hancock prior to the game against Picayune. While the game against Hancock won’t be a district game, the following matchup will be.

As they head to their next games, Labella wants to see the players perform well after the loss to Hattiesburg.

“There’s still a lot of the season left, so we have to fix the mistakes and put ourselves in the district tournament to avoid Hattiesburg,” Labella said. The game against Hancock will begin at 5 p.m.