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Picayune basketball working on execution

The Picayune Maroon Tide basketball team beat the Yazoo County Panthers Tuesday in overtime 56-51 Tuesday evening.

Offensively the Maroon Tide was able to execute late in the game and pull out the win.

“We like to get down the floor, share the ball, movement, screens, things like that. We try to play with a good pace. So far it’s not bad, but we’re still struggling,” Head Coach Eric Vianney said.

Picayune was led by Derai Jones who scored 19 for the Maroon Tide and took over late in the game.

Meanwhile senior John Cook led the Maroon Tide defense.

“When he plays that way it becomes contagious to his teammates. His intensity and energy was high and his teammates followed him. I think this year, compared to last year, they started buying into wanting to play defense,” Vianney said.

Vianney has been searching for a player to step up and become a leader for the team.

There isn’t a lot of experience in the squad, so it comes down to veterans like Jones to inspire and direct his teammates.

“I can say that he’s improved, but I think he can do more. When he plays at that level like last night, late in the game in overtime, that’s the level he’s supposed to play every night. When he plays at that level he can do a lot of things,” Vianney said.

Ball handling has been another point of emphasis for the athletes with high school basketball teams often employing a full court press. The press is meant to disrupt rhythm and make it harder to come up the floor.

However, if the team with possession has good spacing and players that can maneuver out of sticky situations, the full court press isn’t effective.

Vianney said his players are still working on that aspect of the game after having issues getting through Pass Christian’s full court press last week.

“We couldn’t handle the full court press that day. We were tentative and we have to continue to get better at it. That game against Pass Christian probably helped prepare us for the game against Yazoo,” Vianney said.

The team’s next game will be against the D’Iberville Warriors on Dec. 1 away from home.

D’Iberville is undefeated and will look to stay that way when Picayune comes to town. “It’s going to be a tough game. They’ve been playing well and playing well at home. It’s going to be a challenge,” Vianney said.