By Joseph W. Gex, II, Item Sports Correspondent
The Picayune Item
Bay St. Louis —
The Poplarville Hornets invaded the Brother Peter Memorial Gymnasium on Tuesday evening and escaped with a slim 49-48 victory over Division 8-4A rival St. Stanislaus.
The Hornets (8-9, 4-2) used a stout defensive effort and some solid play in the paint offensively to earn the big district win over the Rock-A-Chaws, which lost a league game on the court for the first time this season.
Poplarville head coach Chareck Cable commented, “This is a very big win for us as a young team. I am impressed with the way our guys came into a tough place to play and focused on the task at hand. We are a team that is still learning how to win and how to finish games. But, tonight was a step in that direction.”
The Hornets surged to a 13-5 lead at the end of the first period and points were spread around five different players.
The two teams battled basket-for-basket in the second period as Poplarville only outscored the Rocks 12-11 to make a 25-16 tally at intermission. Rojae Raine led the Hornets in the second period with six points while Drake Davis came alive for the Rocks with six points including a thunderous steal and stuff.
The Hornets attack slowed somewhat in the third period as the Rocks found their shooting range and claimed a narrow 39-37 lead heading into the final frame. Raine led the Hornets attack with seven points in the period while Ramone Tate had nine points in the third including a basket with 35 seconds left and a three-pointer with one second remaining to give the Rocks the lead. In the final frame, the game was tied three times. Raine pushed the Hornets to a 45-41 lead with a basket with 4:43 remaining in the game only to see the Rocks tie the game at 45-45 with 3:05 left to play on consecutive baskets by Gatlin Fay and Davis.
Raine followed with a basket with 2:25 left that gave the Hornets a short-lived 47-45 lead. Tate sank the front end of a one-and-one with 1:24 left and then stole a pass and converted with 50 seconds left to give SSC a 48-47 advantage.
However, Alex Travis would sink the game winner with 24 seconds left to make the score 49-48.
Cable continued, “Rojae Raine and Alex Travis both controlled the ball well for us tonight. But, we need to continue to progress and develop. We are working on perfecting the little things and the big things will come.”
SSC head coach Rocky Stone stated, “We had a rough first half. We were having trouble making shots. We did much better in the second half. But, on the defensive end we could not keep them away from the basket inside. We struggled both offensively and defensively tonight.”
Raine led the Hornets with 19 points followed by Travis with 11. The Rocks were led by Tate with 18 points and Jerrod Rigby with 13. SSC dropped to 8-13 overall and 4-2 in league play as well. The Rock-A-Chaws recently had to forfeit seven wins from earlier in the season, including a district win over Greene County.
Both Poplarville teams will step outside of district play next and will travel to Harrison Central on Friday, and will both will return to league play and host Bay High School on Tuesday, January 22nd in their next home game.