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Picayune basketball ready to continue developing

Picayune Maroon Tide’s basketball team played its final game of the season on Feb. 18 when the team fell to the Laurel Golden Tornadoes 66-60 in a first round playoff game.

The loss sent the team into the offseason after posting a 13-16 overall record and a 4-2 record in district on the season.

Head Coach Eric Vianney said his team didn’t have the season he had been hoping for coming off of last year.

The Maroon Tide was looking to build off a 2018-2019 season that saw Picayune go 20-12 and make it to the third round of the state playoffs.

Vianney said youth and a lack of leadership hindered his team’s success and didn’t allow them to reach the same level they did last year.

“We were not committed to hard work, trying to be consistent. We didn’t want to put in the effort and we got what we deserved,” Vianney said.

Nurturing the younger players and developing leadership skills will be a priority in the offseason for the Maroon Tide.

Vianney preached hard work all season, but the team struggled with consistency down the stretch.

Effort plays can make up for a lot of things on the court and the players will have to learn how to play hard day in and day out in order for the program to take another step forward.

“We have to change our mindset again. If you don’t put in effort, if you don’t take it personal, things aren’t going to work. Young players have to understand that,” Vianney said.

The offseason will be a busy one for the Maroon Tide.

Time will be spent improving the players’ strength and conditioning, while also making sure fundamentals are worked on.

The team is young, but the players now have another year of experience to draw from heading into the offseason and summer workouts.

Getting the up and coming players prepared to take on larger roles will be an important task for Vianney and his staff.

The team has a limited amount of time to develop talent, so getting the most out of the offseason is imperative to the team’s success.

“We have to get back to basics and see how we can start over.”

“The grind doesn’t lie and you can’t cheat the grind,” Vianney said.

Tryouts will be held within the next couple of weeks and after that the focus will be on preparing for the summer.

Picayune takes part in summer games to keep the players engaged and get some competitive action in.

Vianney will use those games as a way to evaluate his players, so come the start of fall practices he knows whom his main contributors will be.

“We try to see who, moving forward, is going to be the next group. I hope we grow from it and throughout this process we get good leadership from some of those returning guys,” Vianney said.

At the end of the day, the team’s failures and successes will come down to which players step up and take point for the team.

“After a season like this one you just have to find a way to rewind yourself as a team. You can’t win with just a bunch of followers,” Vianney said.