High School Sports

Top 10: St. Martin getting it done with newcomers; Gulfport remaining steady

St. Martin's Daquan Gaudin puts up a shot against McGill Toolen during the fourth quarter of their Joe Barlow Thanksgiving Invitational basketball tournament game on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1016.
St. Martin's Daquan Gaudin puts up a shot against McGill Toolen during the fourth quarter of their Joe Barlow Thanksgiving Invitational basketball tournament game on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1016. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

St. Martin entered the 2016-17 season expecting a bit of a dip. The team had been one of the Coast’s top, most experienced teams the last couple of years but graduated four college basketball signees.

Instead of the anticipated drop off, however, the Yellow Jackets are off to a 9-3 start in large part because of its newcomers.

While the team is still led by senior Daetren Bivens, who is averaging 12.4 points per game as the most-experienced Yellow Jacket, his supporting cast has been more than just adequate.

“You don’t win nine games without having guys who can make plays,” St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus said Monday. “Everybody I’ll mention aren’t household names yet but they’re trying to be.”

Da’Quan Gaudin is a fellow senior who was mostly a role player a year ago, averaging less than six minutes a game.

“He has come in and been our most consistent player,” Pavlus said. “He went from playing no minutes to averaging 9.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.”

Pavlus is also quite proud of Gaudin’s 25 charges, which, he said, points to the senior’s effort and toughness.

Tim Downs, Trez Kennedy and Jariyon Wilkens rounds out St. Martin’s unheralded starting lineup —all three of which really made strides during the fall.

“(Downs) improved dramatically and has put together a really good season for us,” Pavlus said of the junior, who is averaging 5.4 points and 2.9 assists.

Kennedy, a JV transfer from Gulfport, does a number of things for St. Martin.

“He’s really, really quick,” Pavlus said. “He’s our second-leading rebounder for a guard who’s 5-11. He just does a good job of getting a lot off 50-50 balls and does all the small things right.”

Pavlus is perhaps most excited about the potential of Wilkens, who he said is only the third sophomore to start for him; the other two are Ed Simpson and Stacee St. Julian.

“He’s probably been the biggest surprise since he’s just a sophomore,” Pavlus said. “He’s averaging (8.2) points a game and is actually one of our best scorers around the rim.”

St. Martin is scheduled to face Theodore (Ala.) and Murphy (Ala.) on Friday and Saturday in the Jackie Laird Christmas Tournament.

Consistent Admirals

While there was plenty of jostling in the latest Sun Herald Top 10 basketball polls, Gulfport’s boys remained one of the constants.

The No. 4 Admirals went 1-2 last week against tough competition in the Newman Invitational basketball tournament in New Orleans. After knocking off East Jefferson 60-44, GHS (6-4) fell to Brother Martin in overtime 69-58 and Metairie Park Country Day 60-45.

“We’ve been pretty good at times and pretty bad at times,” Coach Owen Miller said. “We’re still figuring it out. I’ve been pleased with some guys who had no previous varsity experience who have played well. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Oliver McDowell is second on the team, averaging 11.4 points and 2.1 rebounds.

“He’s shooting it really well and he’s rebounding the ball for us,” Miller said. “For a guy who had zero varsity experience, it has been really pleasing.”

The team’s leading scorer has been Miles Daniels.

“We go as he goes,” Miller said. “He has had a good year up until this point. He guards the best player, gets four rebounds a game for us and is leading us in scoring. We play him everywhere and he’s our captain as well.”

After going nearly a month since playing a Coast school — the Admirals have played in the Newman Invitational, St. Martin’s Thanksgiving Classic and in Mobile — GHS will host West Harrison on Tuesday before welcoming Meridian to GHS on Friday.

Boys Top 10: No. 1 Biloxi (8-2), No. 2 Pascagoula (8-2), No. 3 Bay (8-3), No. 4 Gulfport (6-4), No. 5 Harrison Central (7-2), No. 6 George County (8-1), No. 7 Pass Christian (7-3), No. 8 St. Martin (9-3), No. 9 Picayune (8-4), tied for No. 10 Vancleave (5-4), St. Patrick (5-2) and D’Iberville (6-4). Dropped out: Long Beach (5-4).

Girls Top 10: No. 1 Harrison Central (7-1), No. 2 Bay (8-2), No. 3 Biloxi (8-5), No. 4 St. Martin (8-5), No. 5 Ocean Springs (7-5), No. 6 East Central (7-2), tied for No. 7 Gulfport (5-5) and Hancock (7-4), tied for No. 9 Pearl River Central (8-3), Moss Point (5-2) and Pass Christian (7-6). Receiving votes: Poplarville (8-1).

Sun Herald Boys Top 10

School (Points)

Record

PVS

1. Biloxi (28)

8-2

1

2. Pascagoula (26)

8-2

7

3. Bay (23)

8-3

2

4. Gulfport (19)

6-4

4

5. Harrison Central (18)

7-2

6

6. George County (17)

8-1

5

7. Pass Christian (14)

7-3

3

8. St. Martin (11)

9-3

8

9. Picayune (3)

8-4

NR

T10. Vancleave (2)

5-4

T9

T10. St. Patrick (2)

5-2

NR

T10. D’Iberville (2)

6-4

RV

Dropped out: Long Beach (0; 5-4; T9)

Sun Herald Girls Top 10

School (Points)

Record

PVS

1. Harrison Central (30)

7-1

1

2. Bay (27)

8-2

2

3. Biloxi (24)

8-5

4

4. St. Martin (17)

8-5

3

5. Ocean Springs (13)

7-5

T6

6. East Central (10)

7-2

8

T7. Gulfport (9)

5-5

5

T7. Hancock (9)

7-4

T6

T9. Pearl River Central (7)

8-3

T9

T9. Moss Point (7)

5-2

RV

T9. Pass Christian (7)

7-6

T9

Receiving votes: Poplarville (8-1; 5; NR)

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