Picayune is apparently not only the best boys’ hoops squad in Pearl River County but Jones County as well.
The Maroon Tide punched their ticket to the Class 5A state championship and earned a trip to the Big House in Jackson with a 62-42 win over West Jones Friday night in the quarterfinal round at Marvin White Coliseum in Poplarville on the campus of Pearl River Community College.
Picayune will meet either Jackson Provine or Cleveland Central in the overall Class 5A state semifinals Tuesday night in the Mississippi Coliseum with a trip to the state championship game on the line.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair for the most part, but the Maroon Tide managed a 21-16 lead at halftime.
But Picayune slowly and steadily expanded their advantage as the second half unfolded, eventually storming past the Mustangs to take the 20-point win by outscoring West Jones 41-26 to take home the win.
Picayune, which won the Region 7-5A regular season title and league tournament championship, now stands 18-14 on the season.
Josh Holmes paced Picayune with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half as the Maroon Tide sealed the win. Darrell Smith chipped in 12 points to the winning effort, while both Ty Warren and Dakeith Quinn added nine points apiece for Picayune and Naquis Ratcliff scored eight points.
The Maroon Tide mauled visiting South Jones last week Saturday at Kelly Wise gym 66-20 in the second round of the playoffs, giving Picayune a pair of wins over Jones County foes in the playoffs in span of six days.
Picayune jumped out to a quick 16-4 lead over the Braves at the end of the first quarter thanks to an 8-0 run to end the period and basically never looked back turning that advantage into a commanding 53-13 lead at halftime in a span that included a 20-0 run in the second stanza. The Maroon Tide out-scored SJHS 37-9 in the second period and put the game away before intermission.
Holmes, the standout senior guard, tallied a game-high 15 points for Picayune, all coming in the first half including a trio of 3-pointers. Troy Carter added 13 points and Darrell Smith chipped in 11 points for Picayune in the win.
The Maroon Tide was the only squad in the “Southern Six to pull out a win in the first two days of action in the quarterfinal round at PRCC. The West Harrison Lady Canes lost to West Jones earlier Friday 50-29.
West Harrison finished an impressive season at 21-9 overall, and the Lady Canes went a perfect 6-0 in Region 7-5A action and won the region tournament under head coach Patty Norwood.
On Wednesday, in the opening day of play, both the Bay High boys and Pass Christian girls lost to Raymond to see their respective seasons end. The Tigers fell to the Rangers 48-30, while the Lady Pirates lost to the Lady Rangers 48-27.
Four teams from the “Southern Six were in action Saturday in the Class 6A quarter-finals, as the Biloxi girls were set to face Northwest Rankin at 4 p.m., followed by the Gulfport-Harrison Central girls’ at 5:30 and then the Biloxi boys vs. Northwest Rankin at 8:30.