Biloxi turned to Fred Ramsey-Thompson in the Jackie Laird Basketball Tournament on Saturday.
The senior delivered as the Indians beat Theodore 42-38 in the championship of the Jackie Laird Tournament at the Biloxi Sports Arena.
Ramsey-Thompson scored 12 of the Indians’ last 19 points.
“That’s what he has to do for us,” said Biloxi coach Seber Windham. “I told him at halftime that we are going to go to you for points. It’s critical for one of the better players in the state to come through.”
In the consolation game, Jariyon Williams blocked Ronitrick Welch’s shot at the buzzer to lift St. Martin to a 44-43 win over Murphy for third place.
The Bobcats (9-5) broke open a close game with a Kameron Brown trey and Hunter Preston lay-up to take a 25-21 lead over Biloxi (10-2) with three minutes left in the third quarter. Following an Indians turnover, Preston followed with his second late third quarter basket to push the Theodore lead to six 27-21.
But with 22 seconds left in the quarter, D.Q. Proby drove to the basket, hit the lay-up and made the ensuing foul shot. A technical foul led to two more foul attempts. He missed both, but on the subsequent possession Ramsey-Thompson hit a 3-pointer from the left-corner to tie the game at 29 after three.
“Even though we missed the free throws, I thought that (series of plays) gave some momentum back to us,” Windham said. “It really sparked us in the final quarter.”
Theodore, though, battled back for one more lead with Frederick Edwards 3-pointer for a 36-31 lead with 4:43 left. Biloxi, however, turned on the pressure defensively and didn’t allow another Theodore field goal.
“When you play good defense, it gives you a chance to win big basketball games,” Windham said. “It may not be pretty, but we’ve been playing good defense in stretches.”
Ramsey-Thompson converted a lay-up and free throw with 1:57 left for a 40-38 Indians’ lead. Austin Cooley sealed the game hitting a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left.
“I think the players are finally getting it,” Windham said. “You have to hit free throws to win the game. We weren’t hitting our free throws early in the season. Lately, we’ve been shooting free throws well.”
Ramsey-Thompson led Biloxi with 17 points. Cooley was second in scoring, finishing with nine points.
Hunter Preston was the only player in double figures for Theodore with 14 points. Edwards was second on the Bobcats scoring charts with seven points.
St. Martin (10-4) won the consolation trophy despite hitting only 2-of-4 free throws in the final minute. Welch, who took the final shot for Murphy, tied the game at 43 each with a basket with 31 seconds left to play.
St. Martin took the ball down court, missed a 3-point shot late, but Cam’Ron Jones was fouled. Jones responded by hitting the second of two foul shots with seven seconds left in the game to lift the Yellow Jackets to the one-point win.
“I challenged them earlier today,” said Yellow Jackets coach Charlie Pavlus. “Everyone who I challenged stepped up today. We still have a tough stretch ahead of us, but we can be a pretty good basketball team.”
Trez Kennedy led St. Martin with 15 points. Daetren Bevins added 12 points, D.Q. Gaudin finished with eight.
Welch led the Bobcats with 15 points and Neil Farrell, a LSU football commitment, added 10 points.