The host Pascagoula boys basketball team will face a stiff challenge Saturday night in the finale of the Chevron Classic.
The No. 2 Panthers (12-5) will take on No. 5 George County (13-1) at 8:30 p.m. in the last of eight games to be played at Pascagoula High School.
The Rebels are one of the hottest teams on the Coast, riding a five-game winning streak after putting a 70-48 thumping on St. Martin Tuesday.
“I know they'll be good. I remember watching them last year,” Pascagoula coach Lorenzo Wright said. “I expect a good game.”
Both Pascagoula and George County reached Jackson last season. The Panthers fell 73-61 to Center Hill in the Class 5A quarterfinals and the Rebels were eliminated 81-49 by Columbus in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
George County suffered a significant loss to its lineup before the season started when Tyrese Fryfogle decided not to play basketball during his senior year, but several other Rebels have stepped up.
Senior guard LaRaymond Spivery leads the way with 17.1 points and 5.4 assists a game. Junior guard Cameron Hartsfield is pitching in 13.6 points and 5.7 rebounds and junior forward Jaquan Hawkins is averaging 11.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.
When asked to compare this year's George County squad to where his team stood at this point of the season, George County coach Ron Renfroe doesn't see much difference.
“At this point of the season, I think we're pretty close to the same,” he said. “Our senior leadership is coming around. We're not as explosive as we were last year, but we're spreading the ball around a lot more. The good thing is we're getting more consistency.”
No. 3 Bay High (14-4) will take on New Iberia (La.) at 7 p.m. in one of the better games of the day on Saturday.
New Iberia, which is 15-6 this season, is coached by a former college teammate and roommate of Wright's at Nicholls State, Todd Russ.
“He was actually a junior my freshman year in '95,” Wright said. “He was on the first championship team at Nicholls State. We talk often.”
The 1 p.m. contest between Gulfport and Oak Grove should also set up to be a good contest. Oak Grove (12-3) is the only team to beat George County this season and Gulfport is ranked No. 4 by the Sun Herald with a record of 12-6.
“The Oak Grove and Gulfport match-up is a possibly a preview of a game you might see in the playoffs,” Wright said.
The action begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday with Gautier (7-12) taking on D'Iberville (9-6). At 11:30 a.m., Ocean Springs (9-7) will take on a much improved Long Beach squad (8-6).
Moss Point (3-13) will play West Harrison, which upset Pascagoula on Tuesday, at 2:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., Harrison Central (10-6) will face Quitman.
The lone girls game will take place at 5:30 p.m. with the Pascagoula Lady Panthers (8-10) taking on Quitman.
Where: Pascagoula High School
10 a.m. — Gautier vs. D’Iberville
11:30 a.m. — Ocean Springs vs. Long Beach
1 p.m. — Gulfport vs. Oak Grove
2:30 p.m. — Moss Point vs. West Harrison
4 p.m. — Harrison Central vs. Quitman
5:30 p.m. — Pascagoula girls vs. Quitman
7 p.m. — Bay High vs. New Iberia (La.)
8:30 p.m. — Pascagoula vs. George County