Region championships are on the line across South Mississippi Friday at sites ranging from Picayune to Lucedale.
The George County boys (20-6) will seek their second consecutive Region 7-6A title when they take on Ocean Springs (13-12) at 8:30 p.m. in Lucedale.
The Rebels managed to beat Ocean Springs twice during the regular season, but George County coach Ron Renfroe isn’t expecting an easy night against the Greyhounds.
“Those guys are really tough,” Renfroe said. “They’ve got three or four guys who can really score. If you leave them alone, they can make the 3. They’re hard to guard. You’ve got to play really good defense against those guys.”
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On the girls side in 7-6A, Ocean Springs (16-7) and St. Martin (17-11) will meet at 7 p.m. in what should be an intense rivalry match. St. Martin took the two games between the two opponents during the region slate, 50-37 and 46-44.
“We’re hoping the third time’s the charm,” Ocean Springs coach LaShonda Smith said. “Every time we play St. Martin it’s going to be a battle so we know that going into Friday. We’ve just got to execute and do what we do, hopefully we’ll come out with a win.”
In Region 7-6A at Biloxi, the Gulfport boys (18-10) will play Harrison Central (21-7) for the championship at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Gulfport squeaked into the title game on a late 3-pointer by Keevon Oney to take down Biloxi 50-49 on Tuesday night.
The Harrison Central girls (20-3) will look to stay perfect against region competition when they take on Biloxi (21-8) at 7 p.m. for the 7-6A title.
If the West Harrison boys (8-17) protect their home court against Gautier at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, they will earn a Region 8-5A championship.
Gautier, a No. 4 seed, is the most unexpected title game participant after shocking No. 1 seed Pascagoula 48-44 Tuesday night. The win for Gautier was just its second in the last 27 games against Pascagoula.
The Pascagoula girls (17-11) will play West Harrison (7-16) for the Region 8-5A championship at 7 p.m.
At Carriere, Picayune boys coach Kelton Thompson will seek a Region 7-5A title in his first season on the job there when the Maroon Tide takes on Hattiesburg at 8:30 p.m. The 7 p.m. girls title game also features a Hattiesburg-Picayune matchup.
The title game participants were still to be determined as of Thursday night for the Region 8-4A tournament at Vancleave and the Region 8-3A tournament at West Marion.