Coast basketball fans were treated to a classic high school match-up as the Biloxi and Gulfport boys traded leads for three quarters in a nearly packed Bert Jenkins Gymnasium in Gulfport on Friday.
The Indians pulled away from the Admirals on a one-two-three punch in the fourth quarter for a 65-57 win and remain undefeated at 10-0.
Twins Jaronn and Jariyon Wilkens combined for a total of 16 points in the fourth quarter and Dontavius Proby sank two three-pointers, extending their lead to as many as 10 points in the period.
Jaronn sank two free throws to open the fourth quarter scoring, giving the Indians the advantage at 42-39. Gulfport’s Dontae Jackson sank a 3-pointer to tie the game. From that point on, the Indians went on a 10-5 run, sparked by a Jariyon steal and dunk and two 3-point baskets by Proby to give the Indians a 10-point lead at 57-47 with three minutes remaining in the game.
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“Coming into an environment like this - your rival - we’ve got the bull’s eye on our backs,” Biloxi coach Seber Windham said. “Everybody is hunting us, and my kids are finding that out now. I think some of them grew up a little tonight. You’ve got to go through adversity to get better.”
Windham said that Proby’s 3-pointers in the fourth quarter proved to be huge in pulling ahead of the Admirals.
“He’s a senior; he’s a really good guard,” Windham said. “That’s what he does. He’s always done that for us; he makes big shots. He has a lot of confidence, and we have a lot of confidence in him. He wants the ball in his hands.”
Ranked No. 2 in the state in 6A, Biloxi out-scored Gulfport 25-16 in the fourth quarter after trailing by one point (22-21) at halftime and leading by one (40-39) after three periods.
There were 14 lead changes in the game with No. 5-ranked Gulfport holding their last lead with just over 7 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Gulfport also led 12-9 after the first period.
“I was pleased with our effort and how we competed,” Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. “Hats off to them; they made the plays at the end, and they stepped up and made free throws. Lot of people say this is the best team in the state, and if that is, we are not very far behind.
“We’ll have some more chances at them. We’ve got to continue to get better. They are very well coached. I think they hurt us on the glass. They got some second opportunities, and when that happens with a good team — and they’ve got a lot of weapons — it’s hard to overcome that.”
Jaronn and Jeriyon Wilkens led Biloxi with 19 and 18 points respectively. Jackson led Gulfport (10-2) with 17 points, and Rueben Kelly tallied 16 points.