SUMRALL – The Purvis boys’ season came to an end in the first round of the Region 7-4A tournament on Tuesday night in a 66-52 loss to Greene County.
The Wildcats were able to use their size and create a big run in the first quarter to cruise to a win over the Tornados.
“I thought Greene County shot the ball really well,” Purvis coach Michael Lofton said. “We played them very well for three quarters. Unfortunately, the game is four quarters. They made a run on us really late in the first quarter, early in the second quarter. When they made that run, we played the tit for tat. We just couldn’t catch back up once we got into that deficit.”
At the start of the game, Greene County jumped ahead and never really had to look back as the Wildcats opened with a 9-0 lead.
Purvis managed to overcome the slow start and cut the deficit to within two points at 11-9. However, Greene County surged ahead with a 13-3 run that carried over into the second quarter, which ultimately broke the game open, to take a 27-12 lead.
Greene County had an easy size advantage over Purvis, which allowed the Wildcats to control the glass for the duration of the night.
“They are way bigger than we are,” Lofton said. “That has not bothered us. In the past, we have been able to fight through that, but tonight they did a really good job on the boards. I think if we would have shot it a little bit better, that would have helped us. We had been shooting it so well. Tonight, we had some early shots that kind of rimmed on us. To me, that gave (Greene County) that cushion. We kept fighting and fighting, but we couldn’t overcome that cushion we gave them.”
According to Lofton, one of the in-game adjustments Greene County made was switching their defense in the middle of the game.
“They played us in a stretch 1-3-1 both times in the regular season,” Lofton said. “Tonight, they came out straight man and tried to press us early. We broke it for layups constantly. They just went back and tried to keep us in front. I thought once we settled down from that in the second half, we attacked it great.”
After trailing 38-22 in the second half, Purvis continued to try and battle from behind. The Tornados began to force more turnovers by playing more aggressively as a result of trying to close the deficit.
“You’re not going to make a play if you are scared to make a mistake,” Lofton said. “I’m going to always give my players the green light. In hindsight, we’d love to take care of (the ball) more, but I’m glad we were aggressive. I’m glad we were getting it to the rim. Ultimately, we have to take chances when we are down 12 to 15 points. A lot of that came from us having to take chances, getting out of position, and trying to catch back up.”
After scoring 10 points in the third quarter and trailing 53-32 at the end of the third quarter, Purvis managed to outscore the Wildcats 20-13 in the fourth quarter.
Greene County had three players score double digits, with Conner West and Kayden Miller scoring 14 points each to lead the Wildcats.
Purvis was led by freshman Jacoby Robinson, who scored 16 points, and senior Tyler Hill, who scored 15 points.
Hill earned honorable mention honors in the region, while senior Gabe Young was named to the All-Region team. Sophomore Josh Debrow also earned the region’s sportsmanship award.
“Our seniors did a great job of sticking with us,” Lofton said. “They did a great job of teaching us the dos and the don’ts. I think right now, it’s a COVID year, and you’re thankful to play any games at all. Right now, we just have to get back to work.”
According to Lofton, his first season at Purvis was successful in laying a foundation for the program.
“I loved everything about the guys,” Lofton said. “I love the structure that we have down in Purvis. The administration at Purvis has been amazing. To me, the sky is the limit. We have a great group of underclassmen coming back.
“Right now, the chemistry we have is absolutely wonderful. We need to keep that chemistry, keep working and keep trusting each other, and it’s like Nick Saban (says), you trust the process and results come later.”