Patrick Magee

PATRICK MAGEE: Coast basketball features more parity, depth this season

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Hancock High's Colby Entriken leaps for a shot while guarded by Harrison Central's Anthony Barnett on Tuesday, January 5, 2016. Harrison Central defeated Hancock, 67-55.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Hancock High's Colby Entriken leaps for a shot while guarded by Harrison Central's Anthony Barnett on Tuesday, January 5, 2016. Harrison Central defeated Hancock, 67-55. SUN HERALD

The 2015-16 boys high school basketball season on the Coast is looking more and more like the 2015 football season with plenty of parity involved.

While football took that notion to extremes at times with Class 4A programs regularly hanging with and often beating 5A and 6A squads, parity exists within region competition in basketball this season, and especially in Class 6A.

The best example comes in Region 8-6A where all four teams have at least one loss. Biloxi, which lost to last-place Hancock on Tuesday, rebounded Friday to beat a Harrison Central team that had a perfect region mark entering the game.

Biloxi (1-1), Gulfport (1-1) and Harrison Central (2-1) all have teams capable of making postseason runs and Hancock (1-2) is perfectly capable of beating any of the three other teams.

Gulfport coach Owen Miller best described the situation in Region 8-6A.

"Night in and night out, anybody can beat anybody," Miller said. "In my five years at Gulfport, this is as good as it's been."

D'Iberville (16-3, 4-0 in Region 7-6A) has been the best 6A team on the Coast so far and backed up its new No. 1 ranking with a a 58-39 win over Ocean Springs on Tuesday and a 69-56 victory at George County Friday night.

The Sun Herald's preseason No. 1, St. Martin, sits in third place in Region 7-6A with a 14-6 overall record and 1-2 mark. The Yellow Jackets finally had a five-game losing streak come to an end with a 66-40 win at Ocean Springs Friday night.

The good news for St. Martin is that D'Iberville and second-place George County (9-4, 2-1) both have to travel to the Yellow Jackets' gym before region play comes to an end.

District play is all about determining seeding for the region tournament and that seeding can play a big role in determining a team's chances of advancing to the postseason.

Pascagoula, ranked No. 3 this week by the Sun Herald, has established itself so far as the best 5A team on the Coast. However, West Harrison (6-9, 2-1) showed that the gap between the two teams is not that large in a 50-48 loss at Pascagoula (12-4, 2-0) Friday night.

The top seed in Region 8-5A will likely be decided when Pascagoula travels to West Harrison on Jan. 29.

Pass Christian (13-5, 4-1) appears to be the best Class 4A team on the Coast, but there's a good deal more depth in Region 8-4A this season. Vancleave (13-5, 2-3) and East Central (10-8, 1-2) both have proven competitive after making it through some tough seasons.

Moss Point (8-9, 3-1) can't be counted out in 8-4A with two games remaining against Pass Christian.

After a bumpy start to region play, Bay High (11-5, 3-3) had a nice week with an 41-38 upset win over rival Pass Christian on Tuesday and a 53-37 win at Vancleave Friday night.

With only about three weeks remaining in the regular season, there are few boys teams on the Coast that can be counted out as teams capable of advancing to the state tournament.

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

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