Patrick Magee

Gulfport takes hold of 8-6A, rest of Coast 6A teams in limbo

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Biloxi's Tytiana Broomfield drives to the basket after beating Gulfport's Jatiah Lathan during the first period of their game at Biloxi on Friday Jan. 22, 2015.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Biloxi's Tytiana Broomfield drives to the basket after beating Gulfport's Jatiah Lathan during the first period of their game at Biloxi on Friday Jan. 22, 2015. SUN HERALD

Each week, I try to sum up the current situation for high school basketball on the Coast.

With only three weeks left before region tournaments start, it only takes two words to best describe the local basketball scene: In flux.

Gulfport is again on the rise while all the other 6A teams are taking one step forward and one step back.

Gulfport beat Biloxi, 60-49, to take first place in Region 8-6A. This outcome wasn't all that stunning, but it was a huge win for the No. 2 Admirals (15-7, 2-1) in their pursuit of the top seed for the region tournament.

Gulfport has a good chance to move back to the No. 1 spot in the Sun Herald Top 10 when the votes are tallied on Monday thanks to another one of Friday's intriguing contests at Hancock County, where the Hawks took down No. 1 D'Iberville, 80-74.

It wasn't a region game, but the win again showed that No. 7 Hancock can't be counted out in 8-6A. Coach Charles Moore's team sits at 14-8 overall and and 2-2 in region play.

D'Iberville has now lost three straight games with the first two coming to Wayne County and West Harrison. Each team on the Coast has gone through a lull at some point this season and D'Iberville (16-6, 3-0) is finally going through its own rough patch.

A major point of consolation for D'Iberville coach Lorenzo Wright and his players is that none of those three defeats have come against region competition.

D'Iberville will have to get back on track before it travels to St. Martin for a big 7-6A contest on Tuesday. If the Warriors get the road win, they are in great shape to earn the top seed. If St. Martin wins, the top spot is still very much up for grabs.

If D'Iberville finds a way to beat St. Martin on Tuesday and George County (9-5, 2-2) at home on Friday, the Warriors will have the No. 1 seed already wrapped up.

St. Martin (15-7, 2-2) has managed to right the ship somewhat by winning its last two region games by wide margins over Ocean Springs and George County.

Panthers in good spot

In Region 8-5A, Pascagoula (14-4, 3-0) has become even more of a clear favorite after Long Beach (8-9, 2-2) upset West Harrison (9-11, 2-2) in a 43-38 game Friday. Pascagoula cruised past Gautier 51-37 on Friday.

In Region 8-4A, Pass Christian (16-5, 7-1) can lock up the top seed with a win over East Central on Friday night.

While No. 1 St. Martin and No. 2 West Harrison have unquestionably been the top two girls teams on the Coast this season, the biggest girls game coming up this week takes place at Gulfport Friday night.

First-place Harrison Central (14-7, 4-0) travels to take on the Lady Admirals (15-8, 2-1) in a game that should go a long way in deciding 8-6A.

"That'll say a lot," Gulfport coach Donny Fuller said of the big matchup. "We're 1-2 right here in division. They got us at their place. They've got to come to us now."

The Harrison Central girls beat Gulfport 39-35 in Lyman on Jan. 8 in the previous contest.

Hoopsfest

The Coast's biggest basketball event of the year takes place starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday when Hoopsfest begins at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

The schedule features seven games including some of the best boys teams on the Coast. It starts with East Central-Ocean Springs and ends at 7 p.m. with Riverside Academy playing Gulfport.

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

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