Despite leading by double digits for a large chunk of the game, Hicks had to hit free throws late to defeat Pickering in the Anacoco Tournament.

Austin Merchant connected on two free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Pirates a three-point lead as they defeated the Red Devils 65-64 Friday night.

Trace Williams and Mitchell Kinchen led Hicks with 16 points a piece, as the Pirate used a combination of outside shooting and the ability to get to the basketball to keep Pickering on its heels.

"It's good to have, most of the time, to not have that one guy that going to score 25-30 points a game," Hicks head coach Neil Standifer said. "Usually, I have three, four or five guys that can score 8-15 points. I kind of like it that way, because you can't zone in on one guy, especially when they can drive and step out to hit outside shots."

Leading 17-15 at the end of the first quarter, Hicks (12-6) started the second quarter on a 10-0 run, and Pickering was unable to get on the board until the 2:51 mark.

"We got out in transition and created some turnovers," Standifer said. "We used the tempo to our favor, and when they came back, we tried to slow it down. But we were careless with it and turned it over."

The Red Devils began to role in the third quarter, outscoring Hicks 22-14 and getting within three headed into the final period.

"We go through those spells, and we get on them because they're a talented group," Pickering coach Brandon Jordan said. "Every once in awhile, they'll flip a switch and go on a run."

With six minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the game, Pickering (6-7) took its first lead with a layup from Ahmad Fleming to make the score 54-53.

Merchant hit back-to-back layups after the Fleming layup to give the Pirates the lead back, and they were able to hold off the late run by Pickering.

"He's a smaller kid, but when they were making runs, two or three times, he made plays to keep us on top," Standifer said about Merchant.

The Red Devils hit seven 3-pointers, but the their inability to sustain their shooting stroke has been an issue throughout the year.

"I did the stats, and we're around 18 percent on the year from 3," Jordan said. "But I know Emanuel Mosley has always been a good shooter Fleming is a good shooter. I do have a couple of guys that can shoot, but we just haven't found our rhythm yet."

Tyrese Smith led Pickering with 16 points, and Glenn Anderson added 12 points.

Merchant scored 11 for the Pirates, while Zach Harper contributed nine in the win.