Picayune’s inside punch eliminates Warren Central|[2/23/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

PICAYUNE – The Picayune Maroon Tide used a formidable 1-2 inside punch to eliminate Warren Central from the Class 5A South State tournament on Tuesday night.

Donaires Hair, a 6-foot-8 senior headed for Middle Tennessee State, and Picayune teammate Tony Foster shut down the Vikings’ inside game as the Maroon Tide held on for a 59-49 victory.

Picayune (29-3) extended its winning streak to 17 games while Warren Central finishes its season at 17-13.

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“We felt like we could take advantage of our height advantage,” Picayune coach Dean Shaw said.

“I was a little disappointed in some of our decisions, offensively. Warren Central probably had something to do with that.

“In the second quarter, we had a chance to put them away, but we rushed some shots and they got back in it. In the third quarter, we had another chance, but we had some turnovers. We allowed too many easy baskets. In the half-court, our defense was pretty good.”

In large part, thanks to Foster and Hair.

Warren Central’s leading scorer, Chico Hunter, scored just six points, about 12 below his average.

The Vikings trimmed their deficit to seven points on a steal and layup by Cody Grant with 1:25 left, but they got no closer down the stretch.

“Our guys played extremely hard against a well-trained basketball team,” Warren Central coach Jesse Johnson said. “You don’t run into too many high school teams as disciplined as their guys. That’s an outstanding team.”

Shaw starts five seniors, and Eric Vianney, the Maroon Tide’s point guard, provided some tough defensive play on the perimeter. Hair led the Tide with 13 points, with Mark Dragon adding 12 and Foster, 11.

“We knew they could jump,” Hair said. “We just tried to contest all their shots. We played ’em to the baseline, and tried to force them to go inside.”

That’s where Foster and Hair were waiting, and where the Maroon Tide could ignite its fast break.

Still, Shaw believes his squad will have to be on top of its game to win one of its next two games and return to the state tournament. Picayune was eliminated in the state semifinals in 2002 and ’03.

“We’re pleased with the win,” Shaw said, “but we know we’re going to have to play better.”

Dexter 89, St. Aloysius 54

Chase Smith scored 14 points and Brian Dyess added 13 in an 89-54 loss to Dexter in the South State satellite game.

The Flashes entered the satellite game after finishing third in the Division 7-1A Tournament.

John Robert Burnett added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Marsh Willis scored 10 in the loss.


Warren Central 6, Gulfport 1

Parker White won his second game in as many outings, struck out seven and walked only one as Warren Central defeated No. 10 Gulfport, 6-1.

Nick Carson led the Vikings with two hits and four stolen bases, while Zach Balthrop, Ryan Grey, Eric Douglas and Will Mendrop each doubled. Josh Gordon tripled, and Drew Warnock hit an RBI single.