ST. MARTIN – Coast squads ruled the second day of the Joe Barlow Thanksgiving Invitational Tuesday night with St. Martin, Gulfport and Biloxi all picking up victories.
Senior guard Stacee St. Julain scored 11 straight points for St. Martin in the second half to turn a tight contest into a 65-58 victory for the Yellow Jackets (7-0) over perennial Class 5A contender Laurel.
St. Julian finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“To face (a box-and-one defense) all night and put up 28 points on the board is special,” St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus said.
St. Julian, who was 8-of-11 from the field, was far from the only St. Martin player to put in a key performance Tuesday. Jalen Lett helped out on the offensive end with 12 points while Jonte Moultrie and Kaleb Clark split time handling the ball. Moultrie dished out six assists and Clark had five.
Aided by three second-quarter three-pointers by Daetran Bivens, St. Martin led 29-19 midway through the second quarter.
Laurel answered with Keshun Arrington hitting three straight 3-pointers to spark a 20-6 run to close out the first half and grab a 39-35 lead at halftime.
Arrington finished with 14 points and Troyemain Crosby led the Golden Tornadoes with 18 points.
“(Laurel coach Marcus Price) is one of the best coaches in the state of Mississippi,” Pavlus said. “He gets his guys to play hard.”
St. Martin managed to slow down Laurel in the second half, holding the Tornadoes to seven points in the third quarter and 19 points total in the second half.
St. Julian hit a basket as time ran out in the third quarter to begin a run where he provided 11 consecutive points for the Yellow Jackets. When he hit two free throws with 2:07 remaining, St. Martin held an insurmountable 60-51 lead.
“What I thought we did well was late in the game we finally got a few stops,” Pavlus said. “At halftime, we talked about how they were doing a great job on Stacee. We have four guys offered (junior college) scholarships and we needed them to act like it.
“Jalen Lett coming out of halftime made some really good moves. Johnnelius Anderson had some good finishes. Moultrie had to play the (point) for us. Bivens shot the eyes out of it in the first half. His back tightened up in the first half and couldn't play. So we had to get stops and by no means do I think we played great, but we came up with enough stops in the end.”
St. Martin will play Velma Jackson at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the final day of the tournament.
Gulfport 37, Velma Jackson 26: The Admirals jumped out to a big lead at the half and cruised to a convincing victory over the Falcons, who are the three-time defending Class 3A state champion.
Gulfport led 9-4 after one quarter and that lead grew to 27-10 at halftime with the help of six second-quarter points by guard Keevon Oney.
“We really attacked their zone,” Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. “That's been a weakness. We spent a lot of time on that and got some real easy baskets to get us going.”
Gulfport managed just one basket in the third quarter and Velma Jackson cut the lead to 29-20 headed to the fourth, but senior Alton Conerly scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter to help the Admirals close it out.
“(Conerly) just gives us stability, a calmness out there,” Miller said. “He hit big shots in fourth quarter and extended the lead there in the fourth quarter.”
Senior forward Carl Terrell led the Admirals (4-1) with nine points
“Defensively, we're a handful,” Miller said. “To hold those guys to 26 points is pretty good. We're holding teams to 31 percent on the year. It's a young year, but it keeps us in the game.”
Gulfport will play B.C. Rain at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Admirals' final game of the tournament.
Biloxi 69, B.C. Rain 42: The Biloxi boys almost doubled up B.C. Rain in the second half to roll to a victory to start the second day of the tournament at St. Martin
The Indians led 27-22 at halftime and out-scored the Raiders 42-20 in the second half.
“We came out flat for some reason, this game and last game” Biloxi coach Seber Windham said. “Right now we're not focused on the defensive side of the ball. We've got a lot of work to do.”
Senior guard Jadarius Holloway led Biloxi (3-2) with 14 points. Marques McGee and Jared Batts both added 10 points.
Biloxi had four other players score eight points or more – Martell Turner (9), Jordan Lewis (9), Jaylon Chiles (8) and Marcus Hartley (8).
Biloxi will play Laurel at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first of three games on the third day of the tournament at St. Martin.
“We're streaky right now,” Windham said. “We're settling for a lot of jumpers. The jumpers you make look good, but eventually those jumpers are not going to go in. We have to play inside a little, get layups and mix that in.”