BILOXI-- Heading into Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Gulf Coast Classic at Biloxi High, Gulfport coach Owen Miller knew his team would have to find a way to slow St. Martin's high-flying offense.
The Admirals ended up doing just that, holding the Yellow Jackets to their second-lowest scoring total of the season in the 55-50 Gulfport win.
"I'm pleased with the win. A win in late January is always good," Miller said. "We made them take some guarded shots and we beat them by six on the glass."
Gulfport (14-7 overall) pushed its lead to 14 points, 35-21, late in the third quarter, but St. Martin (14-7) bridged the final two quarters with a 13-2 run to get back into the game. The shots that weren't going in when the teams combined for a 10-point first quarter were all of a sudden counting.
With the margin all of a sudden three points, Gulfport clamped down and went on a 7-2 run of its own to edge ahead of St. Martin. The two mostly traded baskets from there on until the final buzzer sounded.
"Bottom line is we have too much firepower," St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus said, skimming his stat sheet post-game. "We had our chances. We're not knocking down shots right now. We need to do a better job of finishing around the rim."
The Coast's leading scorer, Stacee St. Julian, was held scoreless during the first half before heating up in the third quarter to lead St. Martin's late push. At one point St. Julian scored 10 straight points for St. Martin.
"We just really wanted to get in the gaps on him and every driving alley he had wanted to have a defender in those," Miller said of St. Julian, who finished with 16 points.. "Anytime you can hold a guy like that to almost 10 below his average you feel good about it."
Jalen Lett was St. Martin's second leading scorer with 14.
For Gulfport, Keevon Oney led the Admirals with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Carl Terrell scored 12.
"I thought that was as good as he has played," Miller said of Terrell. "We need him to be a good player for us and he's very capable."
While Gulfport will travel back to Biloxi to play the Indians on Friday, St. Martin will end its 10-game road trip with a home game against George County.
Biloxi 73, Vigor (Ala) 60: No. 5 Biloxi (13-6) opened the game with a 26-7 lead through the first eight minutes. Vigor responded, capitalizing on Biloxi misses and miscues to open the second quarter on an 11-0 run. The Indians settled in after the rough patch, however, and never allowed the visitors from Vigor to get closer than 10 points.
"I thought we played in spurts tonight," Biloxi coach Seber Windham said. "There were some times where we got out-ran in transition. There were some times where we got lackadaisical for whatever reason."
Fred Ramsey-Thompson hit three 3s to finish with a game-high 20 points. Jordan Lewis and Jaylon Chiles also scored 10 for Biloxi.
Vigor (Ala.) girls 50, Biloxi 40: The Lady Indians (6- 12) couldn't pull out the home win, falling 50-40. Gabby Fantroy led BHS with 12 points. Shylia McGee scored 11 for Biloxi.
Biloxi hosts Gulfport on Friday.
West Harrison 74, Mary Montgomery (Ala.) 48: The Hurricanes (8-9) bounced back from a close loss to Pascagoula last week by blowing out Mary Montgomery.
Quieran Gray scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the first half to help WHHS build a 41-23 half-time lead. Forward Joshua Oatis finished second on the team with 14 points, while DeAnthony Bowie scored 10.
The Hurricanes travel to county rival D'Iberville on Tuesday.
Gulfport girls 58, Oak Grove 55: The No. 6 Lady Admirals (14-8) opened the classic by withstanding a 28-point fourth-quarter flurry from Oak Grove to win.
Amyjah Hardnett led GHS with 16 points. Aarmanii McDaniel scored 11 and Tiara Smith chipped in nine.