The Biloxi boys basketball team finally passed the HoopsFest test and nobody was happier with Saturday night’s outcome than senior Dontavius Proby.
The guard hit four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points and a 63-48 victory over Florence in the tournament’s marquee match-up at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
For Proby, it was his first career win at HoopsFest — the Coast’s premier high school basketball tournament.
“It feels real good, getting my first win,” Proby said. “I feel like crying.”
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Florence, a team coached by former Southern Miss star Darrin Chancellor, presented one of the regular season’s biggest threats to Biloxi’s perfect mark, which now stands at 22-0. The Eagles, who have a record of 14-5, are expected to contend for a Class 4A state championship.
The challenge for Biloxi was to contain Florence star guard Jaylen Forbes, a senior standout who has signed to play for the University of Alabama.
The 6-foot-4 Forbes entered Saturday’s game averaging 23.9 points a game, but finished with 16 against determined defense from Biloxi senior guard Jariyon Wilkens.
When Wilkens was informed of Forbes’ final point total, even he was a little surprised.
“Sixteen?,” Wilkens said as he rubbed his chin. “I feel like I took a couple of plays off and gave him easy buckets, but I feel like all in all me and my team did a good job of cutting down his point total.”
Wilkens was able to match Forbes’ intensity and his athletic 6-foot-4 frame matched up well with the Crimson Tide signee.
“Jariyon, as we call him on the next level, is two-way player,” Biloxi coach Seber Windham said. “He’s got size. He’s got length. He moves his feet well. Pearl River (Community College) got a hell of a steal in Jariyon. He’s going to be a Division I basketball player, no doubt about it. Forbes is going to be a Division I basketball player. He’s averaging right at (24) points a game. To hold him (eight) points under his average is really saying a lot about Jariyon, and our team effort also.”
Jariyon had nine points of his own and his identical twin, JaRonn, had the team’s second highest total at 13.
Florence, which held its only lead at 2-0 at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter, could never quite get over the hump against the deeper Indians.
Forbes cut the Biloxi lead to 44-42 with a pair of free throws with 7:12 remaining, but the Indians outscored the Eagles 19-6 the rest of the way.
Florence senior point guard Trey Fort led all scorers with 22 points.
Gulfport 59, Stone High 47: It’s a different star every night for the Admirals, but it was a two-player combination that set the tone Saturday night at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Senior Dontae Jackson poured in 19 points and junior Reubon Kelly had 14 as Gulfport pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-47 win over Stone High.
“(Kelly) made some shots, made a couple of 3’s and got his hand on a lot of balls,” Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. “He had a lot of energy. Dontae Jackson did as well. I thought those two were really good tonight. (Stone) has a good team.”
Stone High cut the Gulfport lead to 43-41 with 7:28 remaining, but the Admirals responded by outscoring the Tomcats 16-6 the rest of the way.
One of the best players on the court was Stone High sophomore Cortez Dennis, who led the Tomcats with 15 points. The 6-foot-4 guard entered the game averaging just 4.4 points a game, but shot well from the field and was smooth handling the ball.
Gulfport improved to 19-4 with the victory while Stone High drops to 14-6.
St. Martin 42, Bay High 16: The Yellow Jackets improved to 16-4 overall behind an impressive defensive effort.
Keshaun Baker led St. Martin in points with 11 and rebounds with eight. Micah Harvey also hit double digits in scoring with 10 points.
Pass Christian 69, Long Beach 68: The Pirates held off a furious rally by the Bearcats to pull off the biggest upset of the day.
Pass Christian senior point guard L.J. Henderson finished with 21 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Other scores: St. Stanislaus 37, Hancock 18; Picayune 66, D’Iberville 42; West Harrison 63, Ocean Springs 55.