By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
First year Poplarville head coach Chareck Cable was named the coach of the year in Division 8-4A this season.
Tonight, his Hornets will play for the district title for the first time in almost a decade.
Poplarville overcame a slow start and beat Bay High 55-43 in the league tournament semifinals Thursday night. The Hornets will now meet St. Stanislaus tonight at 8:30 in the title tilt. The Rocks beat Greene County 53-37. Poplarville split two games with both Bay and SSC during the regular season.
The Hornets trailed throughout the first half, including 23-18 at the half. But a 10-2 run in the third period helped turn the game in Poplarville's favor, and the Hornets pulled it out.
Alex Travis and Rojae Raine each tallied 13 points apiece to pace Poplarville, while Anthony Martin added 10 points to the winning cause.
The Lady Hornets fell to top-ranked and unbeaten Bay High 67-21 in the first semifinal game of the day here at Greene County High School.
The Lady Tigers are now 29-0 on the year, and have beaten Poplarville three times. The Lady Hornets will play Vancleave at 4 p.m., in the third place game, after Forrest County AHS beat Vancleave 76-51 in the other semifinal.
Sheena Travis had nine points to pace Poplarville in the loss. Christa Reed tallied a game high 23 for Bay, while former Poplarville standout Bretta Hart scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds.
Both the Hornets and Lady Hornets have already earned berths in the Class 4A South State playoffs, which begin next week.
The Poplarville girls will be on the road Monday night. The Hornets will host a first round playoff game Tuesday night.
Hart and her teammates were already assured of a berth in next week's south state playoffs even before the district tournament started. She helped pace Poplarville to three straight playoff spots over the last three seasons before transferring to Bay High before the current school year began.
Several other teams that have local ties weren't fortunate as Hart, however.
Former Picayune starter Matt Rawls started for Hancock this season, but the Hawks came up short of making a trip to the state playoffs. Hancock was eliminated by homestanding Harrison Central 63-51 Wednesday night in the opening round of the Division 8-6A Tournament Wednesday night.
The season also came to an end for the Hancock girls, as the Lady Hawks fell to Gulfport 53-42. The Lady Hawks finished the year at 21-8.
Also, the Pearl Lady Pirates, coached by Lacey Kennedy, lost in the first round of the Division 6-5A Tournament. Kennedy guided the Picayune girls to the state playoffs the past two seasons.
And, the girls team at OLA was eliminated in the first round of the Division 8-3A Tournament Monday at Pass Christian. The Lady Crescents are coached by veteran Pearl River County mentor Donna Spiers, who coached at both Picayune and Pearl River Central in the past.