Moss Point boys and Pass Christian girls sit atop the first South Mississippi and basketball polls of 2008.
The Tigers (16-1) edged Picayune for the No. 1 spot by virtue of their dominance at the Admiral Hardwood Holiday Classic two weeks ago.
Moss Point is considered the Coast’s most talented team, according to most instate basketball observers.
Moss Point beat Bay High 49-41, Pass Christian 76-74 and Gulfport 72-60 to capture its second Holiday Classic crown since 1994.
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The one-loss Tigers, featuring guards Travis Rasco, Rod Little and forward Travis Jackson, have the offensive firepower to make a run at the Class 4A state title.
If Pascagoula transfer Marlon Williams finds a consistent jump shot, the Tigers will be hard to beat.
“The players are buying into my system,” first-year Tigers coach Dale Brown said. “When we’re playing well, we’re fun to watch.’’
Moss Point hasn’t lost a game in Mississippi this year. Mary Montgomery (Ala.) upset the Tigers last month in Mobile.
Division 8-4A rivals Picayune (14-3) and St. Stanislaus (12-2) are both right on the Tigers’ heels for the top position.
Like Moss Point, the Maroon Tide haven’t lost an in-state game. Picayune lost three games at an Alexandria, La., tournament during the Christmas holidays.
The Rockachaws, led by guard Pedro Maciel, face Moss Point at HoopsFest on Jan. 19 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
Harrison Central and Gulfport, expected to battle for the Division 8-5A supremacy all season long, round out the top five.
Pass girls rolling
Pass Christian (17-2) has retained the No. 1 position from the girls’ preseason poll. The Lady Pirates have dominated the Coast.
They look to be a sure bet to earn a second-straight state tournament berth. Pass Christian made the 4A state quarterfinals last year, and are challengers in 3A.
Mykeal Hall, Shallon Swanier, Nicole Wittman, Hillary Dedeaux and Jasmine Bradley have playoff experience for the Lady Pirates, who have a new coach. Prisila Herchenhahn replaced Patricia Barr, the Sun Herald’s girls coach of the year in 2007.
Hancock (13-2), consistently making the 5A South state tournament under coach Pam Slayton, is considered a favorite to win Division 8-5A title.
Rounding out the top five are Long Beach, Gulfport and Bay High.
Sun Herald Top 10 Boys
1. Moss Point, 16-1
2. Picayune, 14-3
3. St. Stanislaus, 12-2
4. Harrison Central, 12-5
5. Gulfport, 10-7
6. Pass Christian, 14-4
7. Long Beach, 14-5
8. Biloxi, 9-4
9. Pascagoula, 9-7
10. Ocean Springs, 8-7
Sun Herald Top 10 Girls
1. Pass Christian, 17-2
2. Long Beach, 13-4
3. Hancock, 12-5
4. Gulfport, 11-6
5. Bay High, 11-6
6. Stone, 9-3
7. D’Iberville, 8-5
8. Biloxi, 10-7
9. Picayune, 8-6
10. Moss Point, 8-8