GULFPORT — Danny Grieves has had a successful return home so far.
Grieves, a former coach at Gulfport and St. Stanislaus among several Coast stops, coached his Metamora, Ill., team to a 53-42 win over Biloxi on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. Gulfport Hardwood Holiday Classic title game against the winner of Pascagoula-Gulfport.
Dallas Morgan, who scored 22 points, set the tone for Redbirds’ late rally.
Biloxi led 37-28 with 1:37 left in the third quarter, but saw its lead quickly evaporate.
Morgan scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining for a 41-40 lead.
The Redbirds, who out-scored Biloxi 20-5 in the fourth quarter, and never trailed again.
“He didn’t play well last night,” Grieves said of Morgan. “I challenged him before the game today and he came out and got just as hot as firecracker.”
Nate Kennell, a Div. I signee with Bradley University, led Metamora with 25 points. He scored all 10 of Metamora’s points in the first quarter and had 15 at halftime.
“He shows a lot of experience,” said Grieves, who is in his fifth year at Metamora. “He’s so unselfish with the ball. Between him and Dallas in the fourth quarter, they knew they had to take it over.”
Biloxi coach Seber Windham was frustrated to watch his team’s lead slip away in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
“We got jump shot happy,” Windham said. “We had a game plan to attack. Sometimes when you make a couple of 3’s, it gets you excited a little bit. We started to settle for 3-pointers.
“On the flip side, give them credit. (Morgan) made some really, really big shots.”
Fred Ramsey-Thompson had 17 points to lead Biloxi and the Indians relied on his hot shooting to build an early lead.
The game was tied at 8-8 at the 3:23 mark of the first quarter before Ramsey-Thompson rolled off eight straight points for the Indians to grab a 16-10 lead with 6:16 left in the first half.
Ramsey-Thompson, who had all five of Biloxi’s points in the fourth quarter, is building more stamina after missing several games early in the season due to a broken jaw he suffered during workouts.
Biloxi will play the loser of Pascagoula-Gulfport at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Gulfport 59, Pascagoula 58 (OT): Keevon Oney hit a pair of late baskets in overtime to help Gulfport advance to the Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. title game against Metamora.
Oney finished with a game high of 16 points to lead the Admirals (12-5).
Pascagoula led 51-38 with 6:34 remaining in regulation, but the Admirals responded with a 12-2 run to tie the game at 53-53 at the end of regulation.
“Hats off to Pascagoula. They had back to back nights of overtime,” Gulfport coach Owen Miller said. “We're very fortunate. We were down 18-4 (in the first quarter) and just kept fighting.”
Alton Conerly had 11 points for Gulfport and Raekwon Murphy added 10.
Pascagoula's front court duo of Jacques Belford (12) and Illyan Scott (10) both scored in double digits for the Panthers (10-3).
“It was just a classic battle,” Pascagoula coach Ronald Norman said. “Our kids responded well after a big win (Monday night over St. Martin). All credit to Gulfport. At home, we got them down double figures twice. Their kids just stepped up and made plays.
Harrison Central 63, St. Martin 61: The No. 1 Yellow Jackets took a surprising loss for the second straight day at Gulfport.
Biscuit Floyd, a senior transfer from Gulfport, scored 20 points to lead the Red Rebels to their biggest win of the season so far.
Floyd made a short jumper with 11.9 seconds remaining to give the Red Rebels a 63-61 lead with 11.9 seconds remaining.
St. Martin had multiple attempts at the basket on the other end, but failed to send the game to overtime.
Harrison Central will play West Harrison at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Bert Jenkins Gymnasium.
The win was significant for a Harrison Central team that’s had an up-and-down season so far.
“It’s great for us because I’ve been telling the team that the close games are going to start going our way,” Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy said. “We just had to keep believing in one another and keep the faith. The tide is going to start turning our way and tonight was a perfect example of that happening.”
Artrell Petties and Rajun Blackston both had 12 points for Harrison Central and Malik Blackston added 11.
St. Martin (13-3) had four players who reached double digits: Stacee St. Julian (15), Jalen Lett (15) Daetran Bivens (14) and Johnnelius Anderson (12).
West Harrison 47, Madison Central 45: West Harrison senior point guard DeAnthony Bowie hit a two-point jump shot at the buzzer to hand the Hurricanes a big win over the Class 6A Jaguars.
A day after losing 47-32 to Metamora, West Harrison (5-8) showed up strong at Bert Jenkins Gymnasium.
Quieran Gray had a big day scoring the ball for West Harrison (5-8) with a team high of 15 points. Bowie finished with 10.
Shunn Buchanan had a game high of 18 points for Madison Central.