High School Sports

Two basketball powers open the year atop Sun Herald polls

Biloxi's Michael Burbridge drives the baseline against D'Iberville's Chris Weary and Kyle Winters, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Biloxi opens the year as the Sun Herald’s top boys basketball team.
Biloxi's Michael Burbridge drives the baseline against D'Iberville's Chris Weary and Kyle Winters, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Biloxi opens the year as the Sun Herald’s top boys basketball team. ttisbell@sunherald.com file

Each year the Coast produces some of Mississippi’s top basketball teams and the 2016-17 season should be no exception. Both for girls and boys basketball, the Coast has several teams that appear to be ahead of the pack, but it’s not unreasonable to think a couple sleepers could creep up the rankings as the season progresses.

To start the year, however, early favorites include several teams that return more than enough experience from deep playoff runs.

Girls basketball

Bay High (1-0) opens the year on top of the girls rankings. The Lady Tigers boast one of the more veteran starter groups on the Coast, regardless of boys or girls.

Jamaya Galloway is back to lead the Lady Tigers, but she also has a strong supporting cast that includes forward Dasia Barnes and fellow guards Amari Pittman, Taz Lewis and Breanna Fountain.

“They have all helped Jamaya out just by improving their ball handling,” BHS coach Debbie Triplett said of Pittman, Lewis and Fountain. “Other teams can’t double and triple Jamaya anymore.”

With four starters returning, Bay has similar expectations as always.

“I expect them to get back to Jackson,” Triplett said. “That’s pretty much our goal every year. I have an experienced team, so they already know how to get there.”

Bay’s non-region slate includes games against Pascagoula, Gulfport, Biloxi, Harrison Central and other heavy hitters on the Coast. The early trial by fire will be key to the Lady Tigers’ success.

“That’s tough night in and night out,” Triplett said. “We’re playing way above our head as far as classification. If we can come out of this first month ahead of the game we’ll be looking good.

“I’m just hoping playing these big schools will toughen us up and give us experience to play at a high level.”

The rest of the girls’ Top 10: No. 2 St. Martin (1-0), No. 3 Harrison Central (0-0), Gulfport (1-0) and Pascagoula (0-1) tied for fourth, Ocean Springs (1-0) and D’Iberville (0-0) tied for sixth, No. 8 West Harrison (0-0), No. 9 Pass Christian (0-1) and East Central (0-1) and Hancock (1-0) tied for 10th. Biloxi (1-0) and George County (0-0) also received consideration.

Boys basketball

No. 1 Biloxi has arguably the Coast’s top senior in Fred Ramsey-Thompson. The Indians also return solid experience surrounding him in Martell Turner, D.Q. Proby, Michael Burbridge and Austin Cooley (formerly Perine).

With both Ramsey-Thompson and Turner coming off of injuries sustained during the football season, the Indians relied on Burbridge and others to top D’Iberville 58-46 in their opener over the weekend.

“He’s just a really good, solid inside player. He’s 6-foot-5. There’s not a lot of big, big guys down here and he’s just a natural center who plays well above the rim,” BHS coach Seber Windham said of Burbridge, who earned the game’s MVP honors with his 14-point effort. “If you have guys like that you’re going to have a lot of success.”

Windham believes it will take a couple of weeks, with Turner and Ramsey-Thompson not quite 100 percent, for the team to build chemistry. Once they do, he said, watch out.

“I think we’ll be a lot better later than earlier,” Windham said. “By the end of December or early January, we’ll be a dangerous team for the entire state.”

The rest of the boys’ Top 10: No. 2 Pascagoula (2-0), No. 3 George County (0-0), No. 4 Gulfport (1-1), No. 5 Harrison Central (0-0), No. 6 St. Martin (1-0), Bay (1-0) and Vancleave (1-0) are tied for seventh, No. 9 D’Iberville (0-1) and No. 10 West Harrison (0-0). Hancock (1-0) and Ocean Springs (1-0) also received votes.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

Sun Herald Boys Top 10

Team (PTS)

Record

Previous

1. Biloxi (30)

1-0

2. Pascagoula (27)

2-0

3. George County (23)

0-0

4. Gulfport (21)

1-1

5. Harrison Central (16)

0-0

6. St. Martin (15)

1-0

T7. Bay (10)

1-0

T7. Vancleave (10)

1-0

9. D’Iberville (7)

0-1

10. West Harrison (3)

0-0

Dropped out: None

Receiving votes: Hancock (2; 1-0; —), Ocean Springs (1; 1-0;—)

Sun Herald Girls Top 10

Team (PTS)

Record

Previous

1. Bay (30)

1-0

2. St. Martin (26)

1-0

3. Harrison Central (25)

0-0

T4. Gulfport (19)

1-0

T4. Pascagoula (19)

0-1

T6. Ocean Springs (13)

1-0

T6. D’Iberville (13)

0-0

8. West Harrison (11)

0-0

9. Pass Christian (3)

0-1

T10. East Central (2)

0-1

T10. Hancock (2)

1-0

Dropped out: None

Receiving votes: George County (1; 0-0; —), Biloxi (1; 1-0; —)

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