ST. MARTIN -- Biloxi slowed Ed Simpson in the second half, holding Middle Tennessee State signee to just six points over the last two quarters after he burned the Indians for 16 in the first half.
However, St. Martin showed they were deeper than Simpson as Stacee St. Julian and Roderick Sikes stepped up to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 61-50 win over Biloxi in the Division 8-6A finals.
St. Martin (21-8) now waits for the winner of the Harrison Central and Hattiesburg game in the first round of the state playoffs, which will probably be played Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"I thought we did a pretty good job on (Simpson)," said Biloxi coach Seber Windham. "But, with St. Martin, it's a case of pick your poison. They have three other guys who can fill the bucket."
St. Martin took a four-point lead into the half, 30-26, in part on a half-court buzzer-beating trey by Simpson. Coming out of the half, Sikes connected on a 3-pointer and Simpson on a lay-up as the Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 35-28 and never looked back.
Behind St. Julian, who scored 11 in the second half, and Sikes, who added nine over the last two quarters, St. Martin slowly built their lead. With just over three minutes left in the game, Sikes ran down a long rebound near midcourt and slammed the ball home to give St. Martin a 57-47 lead. A minute-and-a-half later, he followed with his second dunk to seal the game, 59-47.
"The other guys stepped up," said St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus. "We have four guys that average double figures and they can take over on any given night. And Simpson is the most unselfish player I've ever coached. If he is not getting his shots, he helps the team with great defense and rebounding."
While St. Julian and Sikes were providing the offensive fireworks in the second half, James Franklin was making life difficult for Zach Parker. Parker kept Biloxi close with three 3-pointers, including a four-point play after he was fouled on a trey attempt, and 15 points in the first half, but didn't score in the second half.
For Windham and Biloxi (15-10), the first round of the state playoffs represents a second chance.
Simpson led all scorers with 22 points for St. Martin. St. Julian finished with 15 points and Sikes with 14 points.
Parker paced Biloxi with 15 points on the night. Jay Sterling added 10 points with Chris Burney and Fred Thompson adding eight points each.
St. Martin 49, Biloxi 47: Whitney Williams and Deona Martin provided game-winning baskets for the Lady Yellow Jackets (20-9) as they held off a determined Biloxi (10-15).
Gnuschke was the only player in double figures for Biloxi, finishing with 19 points including 11 points in the first half when Biloxi took a 23-18 lead into the break.
"Biloxi came out ready to play," said St. Martin coach Gina Bell. "We were not expecting what Biloxi had for us. However, we were able to play better defense in the second half and Martin and Williams came on strong for us."