Earlier in the year Pascagoula coach Lorenzo Wright compared the Biloxi Indians to the Golden State Warriors. They didn’t exactly look like the NBA’s sharp-shooters when the Panthers played them, but they certainly did Friday.
The host Indians pushed their unbeaten streak to 15 games in convincing fashion by knocking off rival Gulfport 66-55 at the Biloxi Sports Arena.
The Indians (15-0) caught fire almost from the opening tip and were never extinguished.
“It’s a rivalry game and of course they’re going to play hard. We play a little different,” BHS coach Seber Windham said. “Gulfport plays inside-out, which they should with their big guys. We have to play outside-in this year. We have some shooting to go with it. Some nights it’s going to fall and some nights it’s not; against Pascagoula they didn’t fall. But when we’re making shots … please don’t call us no Golden State, just call us a good high school team that can shoot the basketball.”
Biloxi looked like it would run away with the win after opening the game with a 19-5 advantage, but to Gulfport’s credit the Admirals (5-6) fought back with a nine-point run to close the first quarter.
The two sides traded baskets for much of the second quarter with Robert Finklea’s buzzer-beating put back boosting the Indians to a 32-29 halftime advantage.
Biloxi knocked down four 3-pointers in the third quarter with three coming from leading scorer Dillyn Neely to push back ahead 54-40 heading into the final frame.
“We were real undisciplined defensively and you can’t be with them. They shoot the ball so well they’re going to make you pay for mistakes and we did. We left guys, didn’t handle the dribble-handoff right and we gave up some good looks,” GHS coach Owen Miller said. “We played from behind the whole game and couldn’t dig out of it.”
Neely scored 10 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 24 points. Jordan Montgomery was his equal from long range at times Friday and finished with 13 points.
Derick Hall was a difference maker at times for the Admirals, scoring with touch and battling in the post. He ended up leading Gulfport with 19 points.
“He’s going to be really good for us,” Miller said. “He’s not in basketball shape just yet, but he’s getting there.”
Chad Crenshaw and Nate Hudson added 15 and 10 points respectively for the Admirals.
Biloxi’s 15-0 record is its best mark since Isaiah Canaan led the Indians to a 16-0 start in 2009. That year, Rodney Hood and Meridian snapped the Indians’ streak at the Coast Coliseum, but BHS still went on to win the state championship.
Biloxi’s boys will look to push their streak to 16 straight next Friday and Saturday when they host the Jackie Laird Christmas Tournament. Gulfport’s boys and girls are back in action Thursday at home against Pass Christian.
Biloxi girls 36, Gulfport 32
Biloxi’s girls picked up their seventh straight win on Friday night, but it wasn’t easy.
BHS (10-5) never had more than a seven point lead, but also never trailed with the exception of a few seconds in the second quarter.
“I told somebody before the game that I knew it was going to be a dog fight,” BHS coach Devin Hill said. “Every time we stretched it out, they found a way to get back in the game.
“It’s just a classic rivalry game that came down to the wire.”
Clinging to a three-point lead after three frames, Biloxi’s Shylia McGee hit a big 3-pointer to open the quarter.
Gulfport chipped away at Biloxi’s lead from there. Trailing 32-25, Gulfport’s Whitney Johnson knocked down a three of her own to start a seven-point run for the visitors. With 50 seconds remaining, Dwyana Parker made her second consecutive shot to tie the game 32-32. Biloxi’s Analya White promptly broke down the court, caught a lengthy pass and converted a layup to put Biloxi back ahead for good.
Dalys Dobard, who converted the game’s final two free throws with nine seconds remaining, led BHS with 12 points. White added 10.
“They did a really good job. I think they had an interesting game plan of switching in and out of defenses to confuse our guards,” Hill said. “Once they settled in and saw the defense a couple of times I thought we were able to adjust a little more.”
Gulfport (6-5) was led in scoring by Johnson’s 13-point effort.
Biloxi returns to the court Dec. 28 against Baldwin County in the Lady Indian Christmas Tournament.