When looking at some of Mississippi’s best girls basketball players this season it’s hard to overlook Daphane White.
The St. Martin junior is nearly averaging a triple-double every night.
A year ago St. Martin had a two-headed monster in White and Savannah Jones, who is currently averaging 5.8 points as a freshman at South Alabama.
Now, it’s White’s team, and she hasn’t shied away from the attention.
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Heading into Monday night’s game at Bay, the 6-foot-3 junior is scoring at a 21.9 clip, adding in 10.6 rebounds.
According to Maxpreps, White’s 7.6 blocks per game is 3.2 better than Mississippi’s next best blocker.
In fact, through 13 games White has recorded two triple-doubles and six more double-doubles.
“Mentally, she has grown up a lot,” St. Martin coach Gina Bell said. “She’s stepping up and trying to be a team leader. She’s really positive with these girls.”
It would be easy to expect some players to get their feelings hurt when one standout steals most of the attention. Bell said that’s not the case with her team this year.
“I think the big thing that’s a positive for us is the girls want Daphane to score 30, get 20 rebounds and block 10 shots every night,” Bell said. “That’s a big part of it. They’re not selfish at all. This is a good bunch of kids.”
No. 4 St. Martin got off to an inconsistent start this season. Without any seniors, and White as the lone returner with substantial experience, the Yellow Jackets (8-5) struggled to find their stride, opening with a 3-4 start. St. Martin then ripped off a five-game winning streak before losing to Brandon on Dec. 10.
“We basically had a brand new team out there,” Bell said. “We’re starting to branch out now. The other girls are getting used to playing with (White) and we’re relying on other players now.”
Sophomores Paola Torres and Alexis Walker, plus junior Raven Overman, have started to step up and play larger roles for St. Martin. Torres is St. Martin’s second-leading scorer at 7.8 points a night, while Overman is pulling down 6.7 rebounds. Walker does a little of everything, with 4.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
“We really need the other girls to start scoring. I need to see a few more people to be in double figures to help Daphane out some,” Bell said. “Paola, Raven, Alexis — we have some girls who are capable.
“Once they start scoring — and they will — I think we’ll be one of the better teams around.”
Torres adds a three-point threat to St. Martin’s attack while Walker “isn’t afraid to drive to the basket,” Bell said. Overman, meanwhile, is a tenacious rebounder and does a good job keeping possessions alive.
Another St. Martin player to keep an eye on is junior Shania Wheeler, who has totaled 27 assists in four of the Yellow Jackets’ last five games — including a 10-assist performance Dec. 6 in a 64-49 win over East Central.
Boys Top 10
1. Biloxi (30)
T2. Pascagoula (25)
T2. Harrison Central (25)
4. Bay (22)
T5. George County (14)
T5. St. Martin (14)
7. Gulfport (13)
T8. Pass Christian (9)
T.8 Picayune (9)
10. D’Iberville (2)
Dropped out: Vancleave (1; 7-5; T10); St. Patrick (1; 6-3; T10)
Girls Top 10
1. Harrison Central (30)
2. Bay (27)
3. Biloxi (23)
4. St. Martin (21)
5. Ocean Springs (17)
6. East Central (16)
7. Gulfport (12)
8. Moss Point (8)
9. Pass Christian (4)
T10. Pearl River Central (3)
T10. Hancock (3)
Receiving votes: Pascagoula (1; 5-9; NR)