ANNA -- In three games since knocking off rival Pinckneyville, the Du Quoin High School boys basketball team has hit a rough patch.
The Indians followed up their narrow overtime win over Trico with a pair of weekend losses in SIRR Mississippi Division play, first in a 73-69 setback at Sparta on Friday and then a 71-67 loss to Anna-Jonesboro on Saturday.
On Friday, Braeden Pursell scored 26 points and Josh Heape had 15 for the Indians. Carson Davis had seven and both Shamar Adams and Anthony Cole had six.
Anna-Jonesboro celebrated its Senior Night on Saturday and then built a 22-point lead before the Indians sprung to life and nearly made a miraculous comeback.
The Wildcats led by 20 at the half, 43-23, then took their biggest lead on a shot by Blake Pena for the first points of the third quarter.
Du Quoin's defense snapped awake and Pursell did the bulk of the work on the offensive end with 10 points in a 15-0 run that also included a 3-pointer from Cole and was capped by a layup from Heape.
Suddenly the Indians were within 45-38 with 3:33 left in the third quarter, but the Wildcats answered with a triple from Carson Reynolds and had the lead back to 14 moments later.
The Indians again charged in the final frame and got to within 58-55 on a layup by Dasani Edward with 6:02 remaining, after buckets from Pursell, Kadin Mays and Heape helped slice into the deficit.
But once again the Wildcats managed to push the lead back to double figures and Du Quoin got as close as 69-65 with 16.3 seconds left when a steal by Cole turned in a layup from Heape, but Cameron Tweedy hit two free throws to seal it.
Tyler Smith led Anna-Jonesboro with 21 points and Noah McFarland had 15 points and a tackle of Heape that led to Adams receiving a technical foul. Reynolds finished with 14 and Pena had 11.
Pursell had 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter and Heape netted 17 for the Indians. Cole added 10 and Mays chipped in nine.
Du Quoin plays at home this Friday night against Nashville for Senior Night.
The Indians then turn to the postseason and will face Anna-Jonesboro again in the semifinals of the Anna-Jonesboro 2A Regional on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., a night after Pinckneyville faces either Vienna or Johnston City in the other semifinal.