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PRC wins physical game against Poplarville

The Pearl River Central Blue Devils and Poplarville Hornets basketball teams met on Jan. 14 with PRC earning a 55-32 victory.

PRC had a commanding lead at halftime, but Poplarville started mounting a comeback in the second half as the Hornets started hitting some three pointers.

The Blue Devils may have gotten the victory, but PRC Head Coach Scott Stephens said his players need to do a better job of maintaining their intensity through the entire game.

“I was not pleased with our inability to put four quarters together. I’d like to see that improved,” Stephens said.

Poplarville Head Coach Run Bowen said he needed a spark to invigorate his team and in the second half freshman Amari Gilmore answered the call.

Gilmore hit a couple contested threes to cut into the Blue Devils’ lead.

The youngster is still developing as a player, so Bowen knows Gilmore will make mistakes along the way.

However, his development is promising and his performance against the Blue Devils bodes well for the future of the Hornets.

“When he comes in he contributes off the bench. He’s going to be a great basketball player, he just has to learn how to play on both ends of the floor,” Bowen said.

When things got chippy in the second half as Poplarville started cutting into the deficit, it became obvious the two teams were rivals.

Bowen said he liked his team’s physicality and a big part of that is sophomore Khalid Moore.

Moore is a force down in the post and Bowen liked what he saw from the sophomore against PRC.

“Sometimes when you get hit in the mouth you have to respond with physicality. I would love my guys to play every game with the mentality Khalid brings,” Bowen said.

The two teams aren’t in the same district, so the result didn’t affect either team’s playoff seeding.

However, the upcoming games for the Hornets and Blue Devils will be against district opponents.

PRC will take on the Hattiesburg Tigers at home on Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m., while Poplarville will play the same day at Purvis, also starting at 7:30 p.m.

Bowen said his team’s starting five has shifted almost every game to try and find a combination of players with good chemistry.

Against Purvis, good chemistry and following some simple rules could result in a win for the Hornets.

“To be successful you have to get stops, take care of the ball and share the ball. When we do that we look pretty good,” Bowen said.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils will be facing Hattiesburg in the first of two match ups between the two teams.

Connor Tynes, who Stephens said is one of the most improved players on the team, provides a presence inside for the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils will need Tynes and the rest of the players to crash the boards against a long Hattiesburg team.

“I think for starters we have to put a whole game together. Our defense and our rebounding (will be) our ticket to getting a win on Friday night,” Stephens said.