The Harrison Central and Bay High basketball teams split two games Tuesday night in what may be the premier boys-girls doubleheader on the Coast this season.
The No. 2 Harrison Central girls topped No. 1 Bay High 48-39 in the first game and the No. 2 Bay High boys beat Harrison Central 73-63 in the nightcap.
While much of the early buzz for the unbeaten Bay High boys team has surrounded the frontcourt brother duo of Galen Smith Jr. and Galen Smith III, it was the guards who shined the brightest Tuesday.
Bay High senior guard Darius Wyman poured in a career-high 24 points and junior Jaylan Wilson contributed 18 to lead the Tigers (5-0).
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“They handled the basketball very well, hit open shots and made pretty good decisions,” Bay High coach Randy McCrory said. “We’ve got some strong guards that can finish around the rim.”
It marked the second straight week that Bay High has taken down a team ranked in the top three by the Sun Herald after beating then-No. 2 Pascagoula 59-37 a week ago.
“We’ve got something to prove this season,” Wyman said. “I think we can do something special.”
It’s early in the season, but Bay High is looking sharp in November.
“We don’t want to get too excited, but I’m excited for kids.” McCrory said. “We’re happy to be 5-0. Harrison Central is a very talented team. They’ll be one of the top teams in their district. It think it is a good win.”
Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler was in attendance to watch the Smith brothers in action. It took a while for the duo to get going with some early turnovers, but they finished strong in the first half.
Galen Smith III finished with 14 points and Galen Smith Jr. had 13.
“It took them a little while to settle into the game,” McCroy said. “They dropped a few passes and had a few turnovers, but they played big when we needed it.”
Anthony Barnett led Harrison Central (3-1) with 14 points and junior forward Daquan Perkins battled hard inside with the Smith brothers, finishing with 10 points.
Harrison Central went on a 10-0 run to take an 18-12 lead 15 seconds into the second quarter, but Bay High got hot from the field headed into halftime.
The Tigers scored 27 points in the second quarter, including 11 from Wilson. Bay High led 39-29 at halftime.
Harrison Central stayed within striking distance for much of the second half, cutting the Bay High lead to 53-46 after three quarters.
Harrison Central twice cut the Tigers’ lead to 3 points with the last instance coming on a bucket by Anthony Barnett at 59-56 with 3:46 remaining.
Bay High closed the game on a 14-7 run.
“It was a really good game,” Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy said. “Both team played their hearts out. Hats off to Bay High. They came out and played great.
“I feel good about our team. Sometimes it takes a loss to get going. Overall, the kids are playing hard and that’s all you can ask.”
Harrison Central girls 48, Bay High 39: It was a case of the Sun Herald’s No. 2 girls team beating No. 1.
The Harrison Central girls (5-0) closed strong on defense to pick up a victory over the previously undefeated Lady Tigers (4-1).
Junior Chyna Allen led Harrison Central with 17 points and Da’Mia Henry added 10.
Despite Harrison Central’s best efforts to limit her, Bay High senior Jamaya Galloway finished with 18 points.
“Their strongest player is (Galloway),” Harrison Central coach Nancy Ladner said. “We wanted make her go the direction she doesn’t want to. They do a lot of screening and do a very good job of it. That was the one thing we had to do defensively, we had to help. When we went into the half, we knew (Galloway) is who we have to stop.”
Bay High started the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 33-26 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter, but the Red Rebelettes countered with their own 12-0 run to go up 38-33 with 6:29 remaining.
Galloway’s basket with 5:55 remaining cut the Harrison Central led to 38-37, but that was as close as the Tigers got the rest of the way.
“I think our biggest thing is we’re playing together as a team and we’re not relying on one person to do everything for us,” Ladner said.