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Poplarville basketball finishing off district play

Thursday night the basketball teams for the Poplarville Hornets and Forrest County Aggies met in a district tournament game that the Aggies won 53-35.

It was the second district tournament game for Poplarville after advancing past the first round by beating the Sumrall Bobcats 49-33 on Feb. 11.

The win against Sumrall guaranteed a playoff spot for the Hornets and the team played lockdown defense en route to a convincing win.

Head Coach Run Bowen said his players knew the importance of the game and showed up once the lights came on.

“We held them to 33 points, that’s pretty good defensively. I thought we executed offensively when we needed to, it was probably one of our best games of the year,” Bowen said.

The team then took on the Aggies for a chance to play in the district championship, but after the loss the Hornets will instead compete for third place.

The third place game will be against the Purvis Tornadoes, who defeated Poplarville twice this year, on Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

If the team won against the Tornadoes, then they’d play a runner up from another district as a number three seed.

However, if Poplarville loses they would have to play a district champion.

Needless to say there’s still a lot on the line when the two teams meet, but the Hornets are used to handling pressure.

Bowen said the game against Forrest County was a let down, so he’s hoping his team comes out with the right mindset against Purvis.

“The intensity wasn’t as good (against Forrest County), but I think we play better with our backs against the wall,” Bowen said.

How the team responds to the loss against the Aggies will likely determine the outcome of the third place game against Purvis. The Hornets have been a good defensive team the latter part of the season and they’ll need to execute on that end of the court to get the win over Purvis.

Bowen said for his team it’s easier to accept a loss when the opposition is more talented, but when the Hornets beat themselves like they did against Forrest County it’s hard to take.

Against the Tornadoes, Bowen will be looking for a turn around from his team and a return to the form that led to the dominant win over Sumrall.

“I think they know that they’ve got to play better and can play better because they’ve done it before,” Bowen said.