The Biloxi High School basketball team entered Thursday night’s game against rival Gulfport with a 20-0 mark and a pair wins over the Admirals already in the bank, but Indians coach Seber Windham knew victory was no guarantee.
Biloxi was down five players, including star senior guard Dontavius Proby, for most of the game due to their involvement in a heated moment that cleared the benches in a 74-35 win at Harrison Central on Jan. 11.
Proby and four other Indians — standout sub Roshaun Jones, Chad O’Neal, Jervin Smith and C.J. Johnson — all had to sit and watch the first three quarters of Thursday night’s contest after sitting out all of the 60-51 win at North Pike in overtime on Tuesday.
With Proby sidelined, it was up to Biloxi’s senior twins, Jariyon and JaRonn Wilkens, to provide much of the offensive production.
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“I talked to Proby before the game and he gave me a little pep talk. He told me, ‘Don’t let us lose at home,’” JaRonn said. “Coach said, ‘Twins, we need you.’ I just couldn’t let us lose at home. Coach Seber gave us a real good game plan and we executed real well.”
When Proby finally took the court to start the fourth quarter, the Indians were in command at 35-26.
Gulfport cut the lead to 37-32 with 5:47 left, but Biloxi (21-0, 4-0) pulled away to pick up a 48-36 victory to keep their record flawless in advance of Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. contest against Florence (13-4) at HoopsFest in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
Biloxi’s identical twins each delivered the exact same point total — 15. They provided 19 of Biloxi’s 21 first-half points with junior forward Caleb McCarty pitching in the other two.
“It was exhausting,” Jariyon said of playing the entire game. “I feel like we did what we were supposed to do with a starter down. We stepped up and made the plays like we were supposed to.”
The only change to the starting lineup for Biloxi was the insertion of senior guard Jordan Montgomery, who pitched in seven points.
Proby and fellow senior Nakia Daniel typically share ball-handling duties on the perimeter, leaving Daniel to run the point for much of the night.
“We had some adversity tonight, but we caused our adversity from a couple of nights ago,” Windham said. “We had our backs against the wall because we didn’t really have a lot of subs coming in. I told our guys that we’re not going to be fluid offensively tonight. We’re going to win this game kind of ugly, play good defense. Overall, I thought it was one of our best defensive efforts all season.”
With Proby pitching in only two points in a decisive win over Gulfport (18-4, 2-2), the Indians’ win was made all the more impressive. Biloxi’s overtime win at North Pike was the team’s only single-digit victory of the season and the Indians appear to have a chance at being undefeated entering the Region 8-6A tournament in February.
However, Windham isn’t concerned about preserving his team’s flawless mark.
“Absolutely not. This team has one goal and that’s to get to Jackson and win it all,” he said. “We as a group never talk about it. We never mention it, don’t mention stats. We have one goal and we’ll try to accomplish it.”
Triston Godine scored 10 points to lead Gulfport and junior center Nate Hudson pitched in eight.
Jariyon Wilkens and Pascagoula’s Jayden McCorvey have been selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
Biloxi girls 60, Gulfport 32: Marcavia Shavers scored 12 points and Diamond Shavers contributed 10 as the Lady Indians improved to 18-5 overall and 4-0 in Region 8-6A.
Indya Robinson had 15 points for Gulfport (4-15, 0-4).
Saturday’s games at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum:
10 a.m. — Long Beach vs. Pass Christian
11:30 a.m. — St. Stanislaus vs. Hancock
1 p.m. — Ocean Springs vs. West Harrison
2:30 p.m. — D’Iberville vs. Picayune
4 p.m. — St. Martin vs. Bay High
5:30 p.m. — Unified game
5:45 p.m. — Gulfport vs. Stone High
7:15 p.m. — 3-point shootout
7:30 p.m. — Biloxi vs. Florence