Now that the Thanksgiving break is in the rear view mirror, high school basketball teams have at least started to get a sense of their true identities.
Many of the Coast’s teams filled up last week on tournament play, with numerous teams congregating in Gulfport, St. Martin, Hancock and elsewhere for the week before heading north to compete in other tournaments.
On the girls side, several of the Coast’s top teams in No. 3 Ocean Springs (5-3), No. 2 St. Martin (7-1), No. 6 East Central (4-3) and No. 7 Gulfport (4-2) — along with previously ranked Biloxi (4-5) — were included in the Lady Admirals’ annual Thanksgiving tournament. They all came away from the three-day basketball fest with varying opinions of where their teams are.
Gulfport had new coach Brooke Glass believing after her Lady Admirals clobbered Laurel just before their tournament. After topping Madison Central to open the week, consecutive losses to Ocean Springs and St. Martin stung, possibly bringing GHS back to Earth some.
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“When we went to Laurel last Tuesday it was probably the best game we have played. It was a very good team and we just dominated on both ends of the floor,” Glass said after the St. Martin loss. “I’m hoping we didn’t get complacent and say we have arrived because I kind of feel like we had the big head after that game. I’m hoping this knocked us down a notch to say we have a lot of work to do.”
Similarly, OSHS coach Lashonda Smith was frustrated after falling to Warren Central in the tournament’s championship contest. She wasn’t as mad about the loss, she said, as she was with inconsistencies with her team’s play from game to game.
“It’s always about the bigger picture, which is why I’m so frustrated. It’s not just about this one game, but you can’t play as well as you did last night against Gulfport and then not show up,” Smith said. “You can make a lot of excuses, but everybody played three games. That’s what they need to understand — going down the road are you going to rise to the occasion or are you going to have a pitty party.”
Conversely, St. Martin’s Gina Papania Bell left Bert Jenkins Gymnasium with a rather optimistic outlook after her team took third place. Bell knows what she’ll get from recent Mississippi State signee Daphane White, but the Yellow Jackets also found out last week they have plenty of scoring depth down the bench.
“Once we get into district we have to have everyone contribute because everyone focuses on Daphane,” Bell said. “If no one else can score and they shut her down then it's over. As long we can get 8-10 points from others, we'll be OK.”
Sun Herald boys basketball Top 10
1. Harrison Central (30)
2. Biloxi (27)
T3. Ocean Springs (21)
T3. Gulfport (21)
T5. St. Martin (18)
T5. Picayune (18)
7. Pascagoula (11)
8. Gautier (9)
9. Stone (7)
10. Long Beach (2)
Receiving votes: D’Iberville (1; 3-2; NR)
Sun Herald girls basketball Top 10
1. Harrison Central (30)
2. St. Martin (27)
T3. Hancock (20)
T3. Ocean Springs (20)
5. Pass Christian (18)
6. East Central (15)
7. Gulfport (14)
8. Pearl River Central (12)
T9. Long Beach (4)
T9. Picayune (4)
Dropped out: Biloxi (1; 4-5; T10), Bay (0; 1-3; T10)