The Picayune High School boys’ basketball team has never won a state championship.
The Maroon Tide will try and change that tonight.
Picayune faces South state foe Hattiesburg in the Class 5A state championship contest Friday night at 7 .p.,. in the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. Picayune stands 20-15 overall and the Tigers from the Hub City sit at 23-7.
This marks the third time that the Maroon Tide has reached the title tilt, and the first time in 15 years as Picayune fell in overtime to New Hope in 2008 and to Jackson Lanier in 2002. Hattiesburg hasn’t played in a state championship game in 19 years, since 2004, and the Tigers won titles in their first two appearances in 1972 and 1974 but lost in the last game in 2001 and 19 years ago.
Picayune stunned the Mississippi prep basketball world Tuesday night by thumping perennial state power Jackson Provine 60-49 in the Class 5A overall semifinals at The Big House to earn its spot in the finals..
The Maroon Tide rode its dynamic duo of Josh Holmes and Troy Carter to the upset win. Carter poured in a game-high 23 points to pace Picayune, while Holmes, the Maroon Tide’s leading scorer, chipped in 16 points to the winning effort.
The Tigers got a game-high 19 points from Darrian Johnson in their 10-point win over Canton Tuesday. Jabari Walker added 14 points, while Stephen McCullon chipped in 13 points for Hattiesburg.
Picayune has won seven straight games, and 14 of its last 15 contests as well. The Tigers have been just as good since the calendar flipped to 2023, as head coach Ernie Watson’s team has won 15 consecutive games.
This title tilt is the third such rematch of a regular season contest for teams in the overall state tournament from the “Southern Six” competing in the Mississippi Coliseum. And Picayune certainly hopes that its contest Friday night turns out better than a pair of Wednesday.
In the Class 6A girls’ Final Four, Tupelo clipped Biloxi and Germantown overpowered Harrison Central on Tuesday, each experiencing the same results that came when the same teams met in the regular season in December.
In the early season meeting between Picayune and Hattiesburg in Hattiesburg in the first week of the season on Nov. 8th, the Tigers beat the Maroon Tide 54-47.
If Picayune can flip the script and gainsome revenge Friday night, the Maroon Tide will head back to Pearl River County with their first-ever gold basketball and join their counterparts on the football field who snatched up the fifth state title on the gridiron for Picayune just three months ago.