D'IBERVILLE – Sophomore guard Dillyn Neely entered Friday's Region 7-6A opener against St. Martin as an occasional substitute guard for D'Iberville who averaged 3.1 points a game.
Following a 62-58 win over the rival Yellow Jackets, Neely left the gymnasium floor riding the shoulders of a D'Iberville fan.
Neely hit seven of eight 3-pointers and poured in 22 points total to lift the No. 5 Warriors to their first win over No. 2 St. Martin since Charlie Pavlus became head coach there prior to the 2008-09 season.
The only time Neely missed a 3-point attempt Friday night was an early shot that missed the rim altogether.
He didn't miss again the rest of the night.
“I felt pretty hot. I felt pretty good,” said Neely, who also hit three 3-pointers in the junior varsity game earlier in the night.
The sophomore proved to be the difference in the region opener for both squads.
“Besides in practice, that's the hottest I've seen (Neely),” D'Iberville coach Lorenzo Wright said. “He gave us a huge lift. Without him, we probably would have been down 20-plus points.”
Senior guard Zach Scales delivered another stellar performance at point guard for D'Iberville (14-3, 1-0). He scored a game high of 24 points and stayed under control throughout the game despite the intensity on the court between the two rivals.
Both teams had players issued technical fouls, but Scales managed to keep cool and manage his team with maturity.
“Scales did a great job,” Wright said. “He's been steady all year. That's what Zach does. He's the calm in the storm. He's never a guy that gets too high, too low. That's his demeanor. That's what you see.”
The loss was the fourth in a row for St. Martin, which now sits at 13-5 overall and 0-1 in the region.
The Yellow Jackets seemed destined to end their recent skid when they jumped out to a 19-9 lead with 1:10 left in the first quarter, but Neely's first 3-pointer of the game sparked a 7-0 run to allow D'Iberville to cut the lead to 19-16 headed into the second quarter.
Thanks to six second-quarter points by Stacee St. Julian, St. Martin again pushed its lead to 27-19 with 5:16 left before the half.
D'Iberville answered with a 10-0 run, which included eight points from Scales, to lead 29-27 at the half.
The two teams swapped leads in the third quarter, but Jonte Moultrie's basket with 7:18 remaining gave the Yelow Jackets a 49-42 lead with 7:18 remaining.
D'Iberville began to gradually chip away at the St. Martin lead and the Warriors received a boost when St. Julian, the Coast's top scorer, fouled out with just under 5 minutes remaining in the game.
Neely's biggest 3-pointer of the game proved to be his last when he nailed a deep shot with 2:54 remaining to give the Warriors the lead for good at 58-57.
St. Martin went scoreless in the final 1:49 of the game.
A D'Iberville basketball program that hasn't had much to celebrate in recent seasons had cause to party Friday night.
“It feels pretty good,” Scales said. “We've been preparing for it all year long. We came out on top and proved ourselves.”
St. Julian led St. Martin with 17 points. Jalen Lett added 16 and Daetren Bivens contributed 13.
“We made a lot of bad decisions tonight,” Pavlus said. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere. Coach Wright has done a phenomenal job here. It's similar to where we were many years ago.
“It's gut check time for our guys. Just because you have St. Martin on your chest doesn't mean teams are going to lay down for you. Tonight was the perfect example.”
GIRLS: Savannah Jones scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the St. Martin girls to a 56-42 win over D'Iberville Friday night.
D'Iberville made it a tight game early on and St. Martin led 23-22 at the half, but the Yellow Jackets pulled away in the final two quarters.
Sophomore forward Daphane White added 17 points for No. 1 St. Martin (17-2, 1-0).
Casey Ferguson led D'Iberville with 22 points and 10 rebounds.