A.J. Banks (4) drains a three pointer over North Pike's Elijah Martin (15)
Hattiesburg---The Pearl River Central boys' basketball advanced to Friday's region championship game with a heart stopping 51-47 win over North Pike.
Willie Reese sank two free throws 6.8 seconds left to seal the victory. The win was the third time PRC beat North Pike this season.
The game had four lead changes late in the third period before A.J. Banks hit a three pointer to close out the period to put PRC up 44-41. PRC opened the fourth period with back to back threes from Ethan Henley and Banks, but North Pike fought back to within one point before a layup by Jason Long and Reese's free throws secured the win. PRC will play Hattiesburg on Friday at 7:30pm in the championship game.
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Banks led PRC with 20 points, Reese had 10 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 assists. Caden Thompson had 9 points on three three-pointers. Alijah Martin had 22 points for North Pike.
Girls: North Pike 45 Picayune 43
Picayune trailed by 21-7 at the half and 30-19 after three periods, but rallied to tie the game at 37-37 before North Pike built the lead back to 44-37 with 19 seconds left. Alanna Smith scored six points in the last 9 seconds on two three points plays (basket and free throw; 3 pointer) to cut it to the final score of 45-43.
Smith led Picayune with 20 points and Miracle Banks added 10. Picayune will play PRC on Thursday for third place.
Girls: Hattiesburg 48 Pearl River Central 30
Defending Region champion Hattiesburg built a 10 point halftime lead and extended it in the second half to as many as 21 points behind 6-4 sophomore center Melyia Grayson.
Grayson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Hattiesburg. Lakyn Spence and Harlee Davis lead PRC with 9 points each. The Lady Blue Devils play Picayune on Thursday for the last playoff spot.
Boys: Hattiesburg 56 Picayune 43
Picayune cut the lead to three points early in the fourth quarter (44-41) before Hattiesburg pulled with away.
Marvun Arnold had 12 points to lead Picayune and Delrae Smith added 8 points. Jalen Hall had 7 points an 7 rebounds.
Picayune will play North Pike on Thursday at 7:30pm for third place and the last playoff slot.