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Picayune defeats Gautier in final game before Christmas

The Picayune Maroon Tide took on the Gautier Gators in a tournament game Saturday, winning handily 64-42.

Picayune had four players reach double digits with Seth Stockstill leading the way with 14 points.

Derai Jones had 12 points, John Cook 11 points and Troy Carter put up 11 points as well.

The two teams met earlier in the season with Picayune wining that matchup 49-45, so Head Coach Eric Vianney was happy to see his team increase the margin of victory this weekend.

“I think we did some good stuff. I can say I saw a little improvement based on the challenge that Gautier was providing. We had good ball movement and were playing with a little tempo, so that was an improvement this game. Our defensive stance (was good) and we were closing out shooters. We paid attention to those small details,” Vianney said.

The team will take part in a three day tournament on Dec. 28, Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 which will serve as the final three non-district games before an important match up Jan. 5 at Hattiesburg with playoff positioning on the line.

Vianney said these upcoming games could serve as a good test for his team to see what it’s capable of before taking on district opponents multiple times a week.

“It’s one of those things. Those games before district give you a vision of your team based on the challenges the teams you’ve played have presented. Having a couple wins is always a boost. It may be helping us define ourselves, recognize the things we do well and then we’ll try to build on it,” Vianney said.

The first game of the tournament will be against a talented Meridian Wildcat team.

Vianney knows the caliber of the Maroon Tide’s upcoming opponents, and he’s hoping his players are up to the task.

“I love those types of challenges. We can see where we’re at, where we can improve, how we approach a challenge and then see what happens. We’re trying to develop that confidence,” Vianney said.

The Wildcats will serve as a tough first opponent to start off the tournament, and Picayune will need to play up to its potential in order to win.

A victory, or even just a good result, could have positive ramifications down the line when the team takes on district opponents.

“We have to be paying attention to little details, things like not turning the ball over, because the teams we’re going to play against are athletic, fast and play high tempo basketball. We have to develop some poise to handle that challenge and we have a week here to be ready for it,” Vianney said.