KILN -- A pair of rivalries will highlight the Division 8-6A basketball championships on Friday night.
Biloxi will square off with Gulfport for the 8-6A boys championship after both teams won semifinal matchups on Tuesday at Hancock High School. Biloxi knocked off Harrison Central 77-70 behind Fred Ramsey Thompson's 24 points while Gulfport defeated host Hancock 57-45 behind 14 points from Miles Daniels and 13 from Raekwon Murphy.
Harrison Central will duel Gulfport for the 8-6A girls title after the Red Rebelettes and Lady Admirals fought their way to semifinal victories. Jatiah Lathan scored 21 points to lead Gulfport past Biloxi 60-44 while Harrison Central outlasted host Hancock 33-31.
On Friday, Biloxi meets Hancock in the girls third-place game at 4 p.m. Then Harrison Central meets Hancock in the boys third-place game at 5:30 p.m.
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The girls title game is set for 7 p.m. with the boys title affair at 8:30 p.m.
The Indians led the Red Rebels 39-24 at halftime and stretched the lead to 20 points at 54-34 late in the third quarter. However, Isaih Steele rallied HCHS (15-13) by scoring 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Martel Turner was clutch for Biloxi (19-9) at the foul line in the fourth quarter, hitting 10 of 11 freebies in the final period on his way to an 18-point performance.
"It's all about surviving right now," Biloxi coach Seber Windham said. "Now we have Gulfport who has played really well against us.
"We talked about big-time players stepping up and (Ramsey-Thompson) is going to play Division I ball and he showed tonight why he is a Division I player. Martel is a big part of this team. He is quick. He has a lot of skills. I'm happy for his success tonight."
Biscuit Floyd added 17 for the Red Rebs and Dajon Whitworth had 10. Jaylon Chiles had 10 for Biloxi.
Gulfport (18-10) clamped down on defense in beating Hancock (16-13). Sam Palode had 11 for Hancock and Tyler Butler chipped in 10.
Gulfport led 29-12 at halftime before holding off a Hawks surge.
"We're in the district championship," Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. "We beat a good team. We built a cushion in the first half. Then they came out the first three minutes of the second half and hit us in the mouth. We really defended again. I think they shot under 40 percent. We contested a lot of shots."
Gulfport is going for its fourth division title in the last five seasons.
The Gulfport girls (17-11) made sure the Biloxi girls (10-16) would not pull off an upset like they did four days ago. Gulfport jumped to a 37-12 halftime lead. Breanna Riley scored all of her 19 points in the second half to rally Biloxi but Lathan hit six free throws and a trey in the fourth quarter to stop the Biloxi rally.
Harrison Central (18-9) had the biggest scare in its girls semifinal, falling behind 8-0 to start the game and trailing 19-14 at halftime. De'Asia McInnis had 8 points for HCHS and Jaylin Ladner led Hancock with 8 points. HCHS grabbed a 25-21 lead after three quarters, taking their first lead at 20-19 with 5:30 left in the third quarter.