PASCAGOULA-- Friday's Division 8-5A Tournament girls and boys title games will both feature Pascagoula-Gautier matchups as the higher seeds won all four games on Tuesday.
The No. 1 Pascagoula boys thoroughly dominated East Central, 72-26. The No. 1 Pascagoula girls held East Central scoreless in the second half on their way to a 63-14 win.
The Gautier girls earned their first postseason bid since 2008 with a 34-21 victory over George County. India Sims led the way with nine points and Alexis Holloway added seven as Gautier improved to 10-15.
In the final boys game of the night, Gautier's zone defense helped it take a 49-30 victory over George County.
The Pascagoula boys led 31-0 midway through the first quarter as its press defense forced East Central into numerous turnovers.
After one quarter, Pascagoula led 39-0.
Pascagoula coach Ronald Norman was pleased with the energy of his starters to start the game.
"You did what a No. 1 seed is supposed to do," Norman said. "Our varsity players came out focused in the press and got us a good lead. It gave us the opportunity to let some kids, who don't normally play, play some significant minutes.
"This is a good win for us all the way around. Nobody was injured. Our legs aren't worn down so we should be well rested for Friday."
Sophomore forward Jacques Belford led Pascagoula with 12 points, hitting a pair of rare 3-pointers.
"We've really been working on that," Norman said. "He's played a lot of five for us in the season. You never when you might need him to take a shot or two."
The Pascagoula boys improved to 20-6, pushing their win streak to 14 games.
The 8-5A girls game will be held at 6 p.m. Friday and the boys will follow at 7:30 p.m.
The Gautier boys have challenged Pascagoula early in contests this season, but the Panthers have pulled away late in both of the prior games.
"It's going to be a tough game Friday," Norman said."It's hard to beat any team on any level three times and that's what we're challenged with this week. I'm sure our kids will come with the right kind of focus."
Lafayette Rutledge led the Gautier boys (16-9) with 17 points and Kelvin Robertson added 11 points, but the game was won on the defensive end.
"We haven't been consistent on defense," Gautier coach Keith McQueen. "We played really good defense last Tuesday up at (at George County's) place. Tonight, we played defense like you've seen some of our teams in the past play."
McQueen is hoping for his team's best effort Friday night against the Panthers.
"Pascagoula will be a real test for us," McQueen. "We have to be patient. We've got to do a better job of dealing with the physicality and not responding to talk."
The Pascagoula girls moved their record to 16-5 as coach LaShonda Smith challenged her team at the half on defense.
They answered her demands by not allowing a single point in the second half.
"I was very pleased in the second half. They came out and picked up their defensive intensity," Smith said. "Moving forward, we're going to need that."
Freshman Jailin Cherry led the Pascagoula girls with 18 points and Aliaya Tubbs had 12 points.