For the first time since 2007, the Biloxi and Gulfport basketball teams will meet as region foes.
The Indians and Admirals face off in a crucial Region 8-6A contest at Biloxi Friday night. The girls will tip off around 6 p.m. with the boys to follow.
Biloxi-Gulfport is the Coast's most intense rivalry in any sport, but the two haven't had to play as region mates in basketball since the 2006-07 season. Biloxi head coach Seber Windham was in his third season as head coach of the Indians at the time and Danny Grieves, who is now coaching in Illinois, was the head coach of Gulfport.
Friday's boys contest will be crucial for both Gulfport and Biloxi. Both the Indians and Admirals have split their two games to start region competition.
"It's a fun game. I enjoy coaching in it," Gulfport coach Owen Miller said of the rivalry. "There's so much history. We look forward to it."
With 8-6A serving as the deepest region on the Coast, every contest is big. All four teams sit at .500 in region games.
Hancock (13-8, 2-2) and Harrison Central (11-10, 2-2) have both proven to capable of beating any team on any given night. No. 2 Gulfport (14-7, 1-1) is coming off a big 55-50 win over St. Martin on Monday in the MLK Gulf Coast Classic at Biloxi.
Junior guard Keevon Oney has stepped into more of a scorer's role of late for Gulfport and is averaging 10.2 points a game. He is averaging 15.3 points a game over the last six contests, including a season high of 24 in a 73-60 win over Hancock on Jan. 12.
"If we give (Gulfport) any type of crack they're going to beat us by 15," Windham said. "Owen Miller's teams are always well coached. We know what type of work we have cut out for us."
Junior forward Fred Ramsey-Thompson has been strong for Biloxi since returning from a broken jaw in the middle of December. He is averaging 15.3 points a game this season to lead the Indians (13-6, 1-1). Senior guard Jordan Lewis also pitching in 12.3 points a contest.
"They're a very good team and have the best shooting team (Windham) has had since he's been here with a bunch of guys who can shoot 3s," Miller said of Biloxi.
Patrick Ochs contrib2uted to this report.