Patrick Magee

Region tournaments heat up starting Monday

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Gulfport's Tyrell McArthur makes a quick pass around Biloxi's Fred Ramsey-Thompson on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, at Gulfport High.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Gulfport's Tyrell McArthur makes a quick pass around Biloxi's Fred Ramsey-Thompson on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, at Gulfport High. SUN HERALD

It's been a roller coaster of a high school basketball season on the Coast, but all that means little when region tournaments tip off Monday and Tuesday across the state.

On the girls side, you have state championship contenders like No. 1 St. Martin in Class 6A, No. 2 West Harrison in Class 5A and No. 4 Bay High in Class 4A. The No. 3 Harrison Central girls also can never be counted out in 6A.

On the boys side, No. 1 Pascagoula looks like a Class 5A team fully capable of making its sixth consecutive trip to Jackson for at least the state quarterfinals. No. 5 Pass Christian will be a team to look out for in Class 4A.

Here's a quick rundown of the region tournament sites featuring Coast teams:

Region 8-6A -- Hancock.

Region 7-6A -- D'Iberville.

Region 8-5A -- Gautier.

Region 7-5A -- Picayune.

Region 8-4A -- St. Stanislaus.

Region 8-3A -- Collins.

Region 8-1A -- Lumberton.

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The top four teams advance out of the 1A, 3A and 4A region tournaments while the top three teams will move on out of the 5A and 6A region tournament.

In Class 6A boys, it's anybody's game.

St. Martin, Gulfport, Biloxi and D'Iberville have all carried the No. 1 mantle on the Coast at times this season, but each of those teams have gone through their struggles.

D'Iberville won its last two games over Stone and Vancleave, but lost seven straight headed into those final two contests. The Warriors (18-10) showed early in the season that they can beat anybody on the Coast, but they have to get right quick if they're going to live up to the potential they showed at times.

D'Iberville will have the home court advantage when it takes on St. Martin at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the opening round of the 7-6A tournament, but the Yellow Jackets have played better ball of late and have won five out of their last six contests.

The surprise No. 1 seed in 7-6A is George County, which has rolled to a 14-6 overall record behind the strong play of junior guard LaRaymond Spivery, who is averaging 19.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.2 steals this season.

With Hancock serving as the host in 8-6A, that tournament becomes even more unpredictable.

Hancock, Biloxi, Gulfport and Harrison Central have all shown that they can win or lose on any given night.

No. 1 seed Gulfport will be the favorite in 8-6A, but Harrison Central has beaten the Admirals twice this season largely thanks to the play of senior point guard Biscuit Floyd, a transfer from Gulfport.

This year's top Coast boys squads don't feature a heavy favorite for a state championship, but more teams have a better chance of getting to Jackson than last year.

Last season, it was obvious that West Harrison, St. Martin and Pascagoula were the best boys teams suited to make a run to Jackson.

While Pascagoula and Pass Christian appear built for the postseason, several other teams in 6A have the potential to make a run in the state tournament.

For the second straight season, the Coast's best hope of a state championship is on the girls side.

The St. Martin girls are loaded with talent with players like Savannah Jones, Deona Morgan and Daphane White.

West Harrison can ride its talented post player, senior Ameshya Williams, well into the playoffs.

Bay High has junior point guard Jamaya Galloway and several other girls capable of contributing.

It's unclear which teams will claim trophies in Jackson, but my bet is on at least one girls squad.

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

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