With foul trouble plaguing both teams, Pickering was able to pull away late against Rosepine.
ROSEPINE – Led by 16 points by Tyrese Smith, the Red Devils defeated the Eagles 67-56 Tuesday night at Rosepine High School.
Smith, one of the few players with varsity playing experience prior to this season, went 6-for-6 from the line, while being effective on the defensive side of the ball in the press.
"I have no idea what his voice sounds like," Pickering head coach Brandon Jordan said. "I've known him since seventh grade, and he's so quiet. He's calming and quiet, and I was hesitant in making him a captain because he doesn't speak. But the fact that he's there at half court says a lot about him.
"He's long and can jump. He's been to regionals the last two years in high jump."
Leading 28-23 to start the third quarter, Pickering started the second half on a 8-0 run to extend the lead to 36-23.
The Red Devils (15-12, 9-1) got the lead up to 16, but with 51 second to go in the third quarter, Rosepine guard Josh Stephens converted on a pair of free throws to make it a single-digit deficit.
With 4:07 left in the fourth quarter, Stephens followed a 3-pointer with a layup to make it 53-47.
"I felt like we handled the ball well, but what killed us was getting into foul trouble," Rosepine head coach Daniel Fletcher said. "I felt like we were right with them. We struggled when they had to come out with foul trouble. It puts different people in different positions that they're not used to playing."
Deshaun Jackson, the leading scorer for Pickering, had missed a majority of the game due to foul trouble, but put up seven points in the final four minutes to help the Red Devils pull away with the win.
"We told our guys that you can't think about the first game we played against them this year," Jordan said. "We played here at the jamboree, and they beat us. This is a totally different place We won by around 30 last time, and we won by 11 this time. We were lucky to win by 11. There was a bunch of stuff that went our way."
Stephens led Rosepine with 30 points, including going 13-for-14 from the line, and like Jackson, was in foul trouble early in the game.
"He's a great player and a big part of our team," Fletcher said. "He's only junior so it's going be a big plus having him come back next year. Not just Josh, but I think everyone is improving. It just takes time. Josh has been through the fire. He's been a starter for years and has played a lot."
Xavier McCarty was also in the double figures for Rosepine with 11 points.
Ahmad Fleming posted 13 points for Pickering, and Jackson finished with nine points.
"I've been waiting for someone to gimmick us because Deshaun has been scoring so many points," Jordan said. "You can't really gimmick us because of our style of play. We're in transition so much, and they tried. They tried to get us to play a half-court game, and that's not our style of play this year. We had nine people score."
Rosepine is 7-15 and 3-3 in the district this year, and although the win-loss column is not were Fletcher would like it to be, he has seen a lot of improvement on the squad.
"I feel like we're improving and that we've played a really tough schedule," he said. "When you play the type of schedule we play night-in and night-out, you can see the improvement. There are growing pains, but the kids have gotten better because of that."