By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Neighboring rivals Picayune and Pearl River Central renewed their backyard rivalry on the hardwood Tuesday night.
The teams split a pair of Region 7-5A games, as host PRC took the girls game 59-35 and the Maroon Tide took an exciting 62-58 win in the boys game.
It was the district openers for both PRC squads.
In the girls game, PRC senior standout Caroline Lumpkin took control of the game in the second quarter to put her Lady Devils in command.
PRC closed the first quarter on a 5-0 run, that included a 3-pointer by Jordan Cabello, to take a 13-9 lead entering the second stanza.
The Lady Tide got a trio of 3-pointers early in the next period, including a pair by Maya Whitehead, and Picayune knotted things up at 18-18.
But Lumpkin led a key 12-1 run to end the first half as she scored nine points in the stretch to give PRC a 30-19 lead at halftime.
Lumpkin tallied 17 of her game high 28 points in the first half, and then the Lady Devils turned to 6-foot-5 junior center Jessica Powers to keep the Lady Tide at bay in the second half.
Powers registered 19 of her 21 points in the second half, most of them from inside the paint, and Picayune never cut the deficit to single digits again.
Whitehead paced Picayune with 16 points, and Jada Simmons added nine points. PRC moved to 9-8 overall and 1-0 in league play with the win, and the Lady Tide dropped to 1-14 overall and fell to 0-2 in the district.
In the boys game, Picayune took over sole possession of first place in the league with its second consecutive district win on the road.
Tommy Nuccio got the Tide off to a quick start in the first frame, as he nailed a pair of long range 3-pointers.
Picayune took its first double digit lead of the game on a put-back basket by Shemar Williams at 26-16 three minutes into the second stanza.
But the Blue Devils fought back, thanks to 3-pointers from Dennan Seal and Drew Cruz, and trailed by just seven at halftime, 34-27.
Picayune's Eric Peyton tallied six points in the third period, and the Maroon Tide took a 44-35 advantage into he fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils again fought back, and Ashton Woodson's two free throws capped a 12-2 PRC run and gave the home team a 47-46 lead at the 5:13 mark.
The teams traded baskets, before Woodson tied the game at 55-55 on a 15-foot jumper with one minute to go.
But Williams sank six straight free throws in the final 57 seconds to seal the win for Picayune.
Williams paced Picayune with 25 points, while Peyton added 11 points and Sullivan Bell chipped in 10 points to the winning cause
Seal tallied a game high 27 points to pace PRC, while Woodson added 19 points.
The Maroon Tide moved to 14-3 overall and 2-0 in league play, while PRC dropped to 11-8 overall and 0-1.
Both PRC teams remain in league play Friday on the road at West Harrison. The Maroon Tide travels to St. Stanislaus on the same night.