Free throws win games.
That’s what it came down to between Provine and Pascagoula.
Behind making shots from the charity stripe and the duo of Johnny Bingham and Anthony Johnson, Provine got past Pascagoula 73-58 in the first round of the MHSAA Boys Class 5A playoffs on Tuesday night.
The Rams (15-11) will travel to Picayune on Saturday night in second round.
Never miss a local story.
Provine went 21 of 31 from the free throw line. Pascagoula was 8-for-23.
“That was the difference in the game free throws,” Pascagoula coach Lorenzo Wright said. “That and Provine was very physical. There bigs were the best bigs we’ve seen all year.”
Pascagoula only had the lead once and that was midway through the second quarter at 31-29.
Provine was up 39-38 at half and would go on a 12-0 run to end the third to extend its lead to 61-49.
Pascagoula cut the lead to eight but that was it.
Jayden McCorvey and D’yasmond Booker had 15 points to lead the Panthers (22-8).
Pascagoula moves up to 6A next year and has a lot of experience back.
“We couldn’t guard and keep the man in front and that was our weakness all year,” Wright said. “Our guys played hard and I’m proud of them. We got 11 of our 15 guys back and they’ll learn from this experience. We will be back.”
Anthony Johnson had a game-high 22 points to lead Provine, while Johnny Bingham added 21 points for the Rams.
“Big thing for us was executing game plan defensively and being physical and we did that,” said Provine coach Otis Gaines. “Pascagoula is a championship caliber team and well coached. They came prepared and fought hard.”