Pine Bluff's man-to-man defense was not working in the first half, so coach Ronald Moragne switched to a zone defense after halftime.

Pine Bluff’s man-to-man defense was not working in the first half, so coach Ronald Moragne switched to a zone defense after halftime.

That one change made a world of difference from the Zebras as they climbed out of a 10-point halftime hole to beat Texarkana 58-52 to secure second place in the 6A-South Conference.

Pine Bluff (16-7, 10-4) trailed 35-25 going into halftime, but went on a 25-4 run to start the second half. Moragne said the team did a bad job of keeping Texarkana (17-11, 7-7) out of the lane using the man-to-man defense.

“We did a poor job communicating and keeping them out of the lane,” he said. “So we tried something new at the half. We talked about playing zone in the first half, but we didn’t want to see it until the second half and it worked for us.

“Main thing is we wanted to keep them from driving and they did not get very many layups after that.”

The zone Pine Bluff switched to was a 3-2 zone, which caught Texarkana off-guard after halftime.

“We were operating real good against their man, they went zone and we didn’t operate well,” Texarkana coach Gary Wilson said. “Plus we turned the ball over in the second half. Them switching from man to zone, that was the difference.”

Tyrone Payne led Pine Bluff with 16 points and Darrian Kee followed with 14 points. Rickey Clements added 13 points and Quentarius Chatman scored 10 points.

Jeremiah Pickett scored a game-high 19 points for Texarkana.

Moragne said it was a good win for his team.

“Anytime you get a win, it’s good no matter what it looks like,” he said. “We are just proud of the kids. They did a great job for us this season, and we’ve got one more season to play.”

The Razorbacks ended up leading 18-6 before the Zebras went on a 14-0 run in the second quarter. But Pickett went on his own 10-0 lead to get Texarkana the lead back as the Razorbacks outscored the Zebras 17-5 in the last six minutes of the second quarter.

“We were not playing hard on defense, we were not pushing the ball down the floor like we normally do, we were taking too many outside shoots and we were not attacking the glass,” Moragne said of the problems in the first half. “Once we got those things settled at halftime, it secured the ball game.”

Those changes along with the key change with the zone defense led to the 25-4 run.

Senior Marcus Barnes said the team came together in the second half.

“We need to do that against a pretty decent team and we are trying to make sure we are ready (for state),” he said. “We started off a little sluggish, but everybody started working together and in the second half, we came together as a team.”