The Biloxi Lady Indians are hot as can be at just the right time.
Senior guard Breanna Riley scored 15 points in the first quarter to spark her team to a 66-53 victory over Tupelo in a Class 6A quarterfinal contest at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Riley finished with a game high of 28 points as the Lady Indians advanced to a semifinal contest against the winner of Harrison Central-Starkville at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Riley was the best player on the court, also contributing eight rebounds and a pair of assists.
“She's hard to guard and you have to really do a good job of staying in front of her,” Biloxi coach Devin Hill said. “When she establishes her game early, you're going to be in trouble. If she's playing with poise and under control, I feel like we've got a good shot at winning with the way we play defense.”
Biloxi (24-9) changed its defensive approach multiple times in the game, causing confusion for a Tupelo squad that typically shoots the ball well. Tupelo hit just 17 of 66 shots from the field for a field goal percentage of 25.8.
Riley got Biloxi going early on the offensive end and the team finished 24-of-44 for a field goal percentage of 54.5.
“I was feeling it,” Riley said. “I brought my team to come out and play better as whole. It's good for us. Everybody didn't believe us, but they believe in us now.”
Biloxi is in Jackson for the first time in 31 years and the Lady Indians appear determined to make their long awaited return a memorable one.
“Our girls came out and took the fight to them,” Hill said. “I think we jabbed first and Tupelo was never able to respond. I think we did a good job defensively to hold that team. They're averaging in the 60's. We had a really solid plan defensively and we stuck with it for the most part.”
Biloxi rolled out of the locker room behind Riley's hot hand. Riley had 13 points when Biloxi was up 19-5 on Gabby Fantroy's basket at the 2:41 mark of the first quarter.
While Tupelo hit just 6-of-31 shots in the first half, Biloxi connected on 14-of-27.
Biloxi led 34-21 at halftime and Tupelo never truly threatened in the second half.
Sophomore Shylia McGee also had a nice game for the Lady Indians, pitching in 14 points and five rebounds.
Senior forward Anna Thigpen continued her recent strong play with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Jalancia Kohlheim scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Tupelo (25-6). Alayjah Sherer also had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
However, those two players were a combined 12-of-41 from the field.