OCEAN SPRINGS - Dougless St. Amant scored 25 points to lead Ocean Springs to a 51-46 win over Biloxi in the opening round of theClass 6A girls tournament Monday.
With the win, Ocean Springs advances to the second round at Brandon (26-4) Friday.
Ocean Springs coach LaShonda Smith said she did not know much about the Bulldogs. However, she said, "I expect them to be very well rounded and well coached. They are going to be tough. We have to get ready to go."
The Greyhounds (19-8) beat Biloxi in late December 52-32 during the Bay High Christmas Tournament. However, the Indians (11-17) refused to give way to Ocean Springs, keeping the scoring difference to within four-to-seven points for most of the game.
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"We shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and missed shots," Smith said. "We were not patient offensively and that helped to keep the game close."
With 6:15 left in the game, Breanna Riley scored the last of her 18 points to bring Biloxi to within four, 36-32, of the Greyhounds.
"I thought we had a chance to pull the game out," said Biloxi coach Martha Bradley-Hall.
However, Ocean Springs would abandon it's man defense and go to a zone to stop Biloxi's penetration. Also, with just under four minutes left in the half, Riley fouled out of the game.
With Riley out and the lanes inside cut down, Ocean Springs would be able to keep Biloxi without a field goal for four minutes until Anna Thigpen scored a layup with two minutes left in the game.
Behind St. Amant, who scored four points, the Greyhounds were able to go on a 12-4 run to push their lead to 48-36 and take control of the game.
"We like to run man-to-man because that gets us going," Smith said. "But going to the 2-3 zone helped us build our lead."
Bradley-Hall said her players improved from the December meeting against the Greyhounds.
"They beat us by 20," she said. "We were in the game throughout."
Smith said she hopes the win gives Ocean Springs some confidence going into the second round meeting at Brandon.
"It's great for the girls," she said, noting Ocean Springs lost in the first round last year and won only four games three years ago. "It will help them believe they are a good team. You don't get this far by accident."
Whitney Gipson added 12 points for Ocean Springs on the strength of three treys. D.J. Blackston scored nine points.
Thigpen finished second on Biloxi's scoring charts with eight points.