The Biloxi boys basketball team made Seber Windham's return to his old stomping grounds a victorious one Friday night.
The Indians jumped out to a 9-0 lead and rolled to a 48-32 win over Long Beach at Biloxi Junior High, which is the site of the old Biloxi High School gymnasium.
No. 2 Biloxi (7-1) warmed up in shirts that sport the name “Laird” on the back in honor of legendary former coach Jackie Laird, who was on hand to watch Friday night's game.
“We got (the shirts) this year to honor coach Laird because in my eyes it's still his program,” Windham said. “He showed me a lot, showed me what basketball is all about, how to be a man.
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Standing in the same spot where Laird coached his teams was a special moment for Windham.
“For me, to get a chance to coach on the same sideline as coach Laird and coach (John) Pugh, that was great,” Windham said. “I'll never forget that. I wish we could have played a little better.”
Biloxi's 6-foot-5 senior post Mike Burbridge started off hot and scored 12 first-half points on his way to a game high of 14.
Burbridge brought much of the crowd to its feet in the first half with a resounding two-handed dunk.
Windham has watched the senior make significant progress from a year ago.
“It's like night and day,” he said. “He's always been a really hard worker. Over the summer, he really got better. We put him in at the end of last year. You just see his play going up and up. He makes a huge difference our ball team.”
As for the dunk, Burbridge thinks he can do better.
“I've got better ones coming,” he said with a grin.
Senior Darren Cook led Long Beach (4-3) with 11 points and Monta Davis added eight.
Biloxi built an early lead thanks to a full-court press that forced several turnovers for Long Beach.
“They were an issue the whole game,” Long Beach coach Joel Boone said of his team's turnovers. “My team doesn't play good against physical defense. Defensively, I thought we played pretty well.”
Long Beach managed to weather Biloxi's early run and answer with its own hot stretch.
After the Indians went up 9-0 on Burbridge's basket with 2:44 left in the first quarter, Long Beach answered with a 13-5 run that was capped by a basket by Jaidon Evans to cut the Biloxi lead to 14-13 at the 5:04 mark of the second quarter.
Biloxi bounced back to take a 26-16 lead into halftime. The Indians dominated the third quarter, taking a 36-22 lead into the final frame.
“The game plan was to try to pressure them,” Windham said. “I like their like guard play. (Davis) is a really good player. I wanted to trap them and do some run and jump. We wanted to do different defenses.
“We missed a lot of layups. I don't know if it was the anxiet coming over here playing. I know they were excited coming over here.”
Fred Ramsey-Thompson added nine points for Biloxi and Austin Cooley had eight.