Patrick Magee

There's no dominant boys team on the Coast headed into '16

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Pascagoula's Anthony McMillian bounds past St. Martin's Stacee St. Julian while driving to the basket during the Admirals Hardwood Holiday Classic last Monday. Pascagoula defeated St. Martin in overtime, 71-70.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Pascagoula's Anthony McMillian bounds past St. Martin's Stacee St. Julian while driving to the basket during the Admirals Hardwood Holiday Classic last Monday. Pascagoula defeated St. Martin in overtime, 71-70. SUN HERALD

A week ago, there was a clear No. 1 boys basketball team on the Coast in St. Martin.

Following a wild three-day Gulfport Hardwood Holiday Classic, the Yellow Jackets (13-4) lost that position with three consecutive losses.

While St. Martin struggled in defeats to Pascagoula, Harrison Central and Madison Central, teams like Gulfport, Pascagoula and Biloxi all showed the potential to supplant the Yellow Jackets as the team considered tops on the Coast.

Metamora, Ill., pulled out the tournament title at Gulfport, but Biloxi, Gulfport and Harrison Central all left Bert Jenkins Gymnasium with two wins in the tourney.

Gulfport beat Harrison Central, 77-68, and Pascagoula, 59-58 in overtime, to advance to the tournament championship game.

With Bradley signee Nate Kennell leading the way with 25 points, Metamora topped Gulfport, 49-37, on Wednesday to take home the tournament title trophy.

The Admirals (12-6) came up short of a tournament championship, but they will receive my vote this week as the No. 1 team in the Sun Herald Top 10.

Gulfport coach Owen Miller put together a difficult non-region schedule to help prepare the Admirals for the region slate, which gets underway this week.

The Admirals have six losses on their schedule, but there's no shame in losing to teams like Wayne County, Brookhaven and Meridian away from Bert Jenkins Gymnasium. Games like those will help prepare Gulfport for region play and the postseason.

Determining who is No. 2 behind Gulfport is much more difficult to determine.

Gulfport doesn't have much of an edge over St. Martin, Biloxi or Pascagoula headed into the new year.

D'Iberville (12-3) owns a win over Biloxi and also can't be discounted in the pursuit for No. 1 in the coming weeks.

Region 8-6A may be the deepest region on the Coast with Biloxi, Gulfport, Harrison Central and Hancock all in pursuit of playoff bids.

Even with three straight losses, St. Martin will be the favorite to win Region 7-6A. However, D'Iberville may surprise if it continues to build on a strong start to the season.

Pascagoula will be the favorite to win Region 8-5A, but West Harrison (5-9) has enough experience to can challenge.

Pass Christian (8-4, 2-0) has the early lead in 8-4A and has earned the right to be labeled the best Class 4A team on the Coast. Bay High and Vancleave appear to be the biggest threats to challenge the Pirates in the region.

As for who will be No. 1 on the Coast at the end of the season, it's anybody's guess.

Contact Patrick Magee at pmagee@sunherald.com and follow him on Twitter at CoastCoverage.

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