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Picayune basketball winning late season games

The basketball team for the Picayune Maroon Tide took on the Long Beach Bearcats Jan. 31 and won 58-48.

It was the final district game for the Maroon Tide, which saw the team seal the number two seed in the district.

Head Coach Eric Vianney has wanted his team to become more consistent with offensive and defensive execution as the season wore on, and also with the effort the players gave on a daily basis.

Against Long Beach, Vianney said his team did what it needed to do to pull out a win.

“I was pleased with our focus, our effort could’ve been better, but we made the plays we needed,” Vianney said.

Teams want to be playing their best basketball as the season winds down because it helps with momentum heading into the district tournament.

Picayune will have one final opportunity to clean things up when the team takes on the Hancock Hawks Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

The matchup against Hancock won’t be a district game for Picayune, meaning it won’t affect the team’s seeding.

But, it’ll be one last chance to work things out on the court before Picayune takes on the Pearl River Central Blue Devils in the first round of the district tournament on Feb. 11.

“For us it’s (about) always trying to be consistent, day in and day out. We’re trying to find ways to value opportunities and continue to get better,” Vianney said.

Some coaches would be tempted to rest players in a game like that to prevent injury, but Vianey is more focused on his team’s improvement to let his players sit out.

If Picayune were to win it would also serve as a good boost of momentum for the team.

“Right now I’m just trying to win a game for us and just give ourselves that opportunity to win. That’s my focus,” Vianney said.

Among the things Vianney will have his team focusing on heading into the tournament will be execution on defense.

Holding opponents to low percentage shots and keeping them off the free throw line helps teams win games.

“Our defense needs to get better we need to be able to guard people. This time of year people play their best games,” Vianney said.

The game against Hancock will be senior night for the team and an opportunity for the veteran players to be recognized in front of their peers. However, Vianney still wants his team to come out and compete even with the festivities because he knows how important it is to go into the postseason with a win.

“We need to be able to run our stuff and execute our plays. If we can do that with good energy and great effort I think we’ll be ok,” Vianney said.