Pick your poison.
Do you want Jordan Montgomery to set the tone early? Or what about Dontavius Proby slashing through the defense? How about Dillyn Neely heating up from the outside to extinguish the opponent’s hope?
Biloxi relied on option No. 3 Friday night as the Indians knocked off archrival Gulfport 55-51 at the Bert Jenkins Gymnasium.
Neely, a D’Iberville transfer, picked up the slack for his partners, who had off nights from the floor, scoring a game-high 21 points.
“He’s very confident in himself,” BHS coach Seber Windham said. “We want him to play confident, be confident in himself and we don’t want to change him.”
The win capped a three-game sweep over Gulfport (10-10, 1-3) for Biloxi (20-1, 3-1) with wins of 40-38 and 66-55 before Friday’s four-point contest.
The Admirals and Indians played back and forth for much of the first half, with the hosts holding a 27-25 halftime advantage.
The third quarter was an entirely different story as Biloxi put some distance between itself and Gulfport. GHS scored the first point of the second half and then Biloxi built a 20-5 run, with 13 coming from Neely, to go ahead 47-34. At one point the guard came up with a turnover in Gulfport’s end, turned around, and with no one around sank one of five 3-pointers.
“We work on this a lot with Dillyn and Proby so at the end of the day they know they’re going to get their shots and the team’s not upset when they take them,” Windham said. “Nobody gets mad at Kyrie (Irving) when he takes the shot. Nobody gets mad at LeBron (James) when he takes the shot.”
Gulfport responded with an impressive run of its own and opened the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to pull within 49-48. Biloxi’s Proby and Nakia Daniel combined to make six free throws in the final 43 seconds to stave off Gulfport’s valiant comeback effort.
“In these situations we haven’t shown poise, but we did tonight,” Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. “We got down by 13 and just kept chipping away one possession at a time and had a chance to win the game at the end.
“I think we can build off this.”
Gulfport’s rally was also hurt by the loss of Derick Hall, one of the team’s leading scorers who went down with an injury midway through the third quarter.
Fresh off of their first loss of the season a week ago at Harrison Central, Windham was proud of his team’s effort with team goals still looming large in the near future.
“I didn’t really know how we were going to respond coming in here. Gulfport brought their A-game, so now I kind of know we’re built for the war,” he said. “Moving on we have Hancock and Harrison Central, it’s going to be where if we can beat Hancock the next game will be for the No. 1 seed.”
Juan Irias and Hall led GHS with 15 points apiece. Chad Crenshaw added 12.
Proby finished with nine points to complement Neely’s performance.
Gulfport girls 41, Biloxi 32
A strong defensive performance in the second quarter, coupled with a more direct attack in the second half, lifted Gulfport’s girls to a 41-32 victory.
Both teams struggled offensively through the first quarter, trading rare baskets, but GHS (14-5, 3-1) held Biloxi (13-8, 2-2) to just four points in the second quarter to take a 15-13 advantage into halftime.
“We did a lot of changing defenses so they couldn’t get in the swing of things,” GHS coach Brooke Glass said. “We felt like when they started taking advantage of the full-court press we went to the half-court zone or man.
“A good coach like (Biloxi’s) Devin (Hill), if you stay in the same defense he’s just going to pick you apart.”
Whitney Johnson led the more aggressive attack in the second half, scoring 10 of her 14 points.
“I feel like when we’re the aggressor we’re the better team,” Glass said. “The first half we were kind of relaxed and waited for the develop instead of just attacking. I think in the third quarter we actually attacked the defense.”
Jerkia McInnis added 10 points for GHS. Analya White and Dalys Dobard led BHS with 11 and eight points respectively.
Back in action
Gulfport hosts Harrison Central on Tuesday in another crucial Region 8-6A matchup. Biloxi visits Moss Point.