D'IBERVILLE – The St. Martin Yellow Jackets took charge in the first half and rolled to a 68-49 victory over D'Iberville Tuesday to clinch a spot in Friday's 8:30 p.m. Region 7-6A title game against No. 1 seed George County.
Four different Yellow Jackets scored in double digits, led by 20 points and four assists from senior guard Stacee St. Julian.
Senior forward Jalen Lett had an impressive double-double of 13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals.
“Jalen Lett did an unbelievable job of taking control of the basketball and putting it on the floor point,” St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus said. “He kind of had some point guard duties, but he plays the five for us. He does great job of handling the basketball.”
With the victory, St. Martin (20-7) reaches the 20-win mark for the fifth consecutive season.
D'Iberville (18-11) will play Ocean Springs at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with a spot in the postseason on the line.
St. Martin is the No. 2 seed in this week's tournament after some early struggles in region play prevented it from earning the top seed, but it looked much improved on the same court where it fell 62-58 to D'Iberville on Jan.8.
“We just made some small adjustments in what we did,” Pavlus said. “Instead of letting them catch it and swing it, we trapped a little bit. We tried to trap away from (D'Iberville senior guard Zach Scales). “We tried to take the ball out of Zach's hands and make other guys make plays.”
Scales finished with a game high of 22 points and he was joined in double figures for D'Iberville by Kyle Winters with 10 points.
Tuesday night's game appeared headed to another tight outcome early on with St. Martin leading 12-10 after one quarter.
Dillyn Neely's 3-pointer gave D'Iberville a 13-12 lead 30 seconds into the second quarter, but that's when the game began to turn.
Five different Yellow Jackets scored during an 11-0 run that gave St. Martin a 24-13 lead with 3:09 left in the first half.
St. Martin led 31-21 going into halftime.
The closest that D'Iberville got in the second half was 36-29 following a Scales basket with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
“I'm happy we were able to come to play like we did early in the year,” Pavlus said. “That's what we looked like. We moved the basketball. Nobody was trying to do their own thing.”
George County 62, Ocean Springs 57: The No. 1 seed George County boys held off No. 4 Ocean Springs late for a 62-57 victory on the first day of the Region 7-6A Tournament.
Ocean Springs (10-17) cut a 10-point lead by George County after three quarters to 60-57 with 11 seconds left, but a runaway dunk by D'wan Williams with 5 seconds left put the game out of reach for the Greyhounds.
“The kids have worked hard all year. We're glad to be playing for a championship,” George County coach Ron Renfroe said. “We've kind of been under the radar up in Lucedale.”
George County's Tyrese Fryfogle came out with the hot had early in the game and finished with 14 points. Rashad Wiggins also pitched in 14 points for the Rebels (15-6).
George County's top scorer this season, LaRaymond Spivery, contributed 12 points and Williams joined him in double figures with 10.
George County had a double digit lead at multiple points in the game before Ocean Springs pushed its way back in the contest.
“It was like I thought it would be,” Renfroe said. “Both of the times we've played, it's kind of been back and forth. Ocean Springs does a good job of being physical and doing what they need to do to keep the game within reach. They did a good job defensively on us. We were lucky to get a win out of it for sure.”
Malcolm Magee led Ocean Springs with 14 points. Jordan Brack added 13 and De'onta Burchfield had 12.