By JAMES JONES — firstname.lastname@example.org
Gulfport and Biloxi have the Coast’s top prep basketball rivalry.
The unbeaten Indians (6-0) and Admirals (9-1) clash tonight for the first time this season at Bert Jenkins Gymnasium in Gulfport. A capacity crowd is expected to see the Coast’s top two basketball programs.
The two coaches — Owen Miller of Gulfport and Biloxi’s Seber Windham — played against other in the 1980s under legendary coaches Bert Jenkins and Jackie Laird, respectively. Miller was member of Class 5A state title teams in 1987 and 1988. Windham starred on the Indians’ title teams in 1989 and 1990, and also has won crowns as an assistant coach and head coach.
“It’s always exciting for me to play Gulfport because of the tradition on both sides,” Windham said. “My kids will be ready and looking forward to it. Gulfport has a good team and might be the best team in 6A right now.”
Miller, the Admirals’ second-year coach, expects the usual hard-fought contest between the two schools. The Admirals won two of three games last season, including in the 6A South State tournament finals at home.
“Anytime Gulfport and Biloxi play in basketball, it’s always a great atmosphere for the players and fans on both sides,” Miller said. “It’s always a big game.”
The Indians and Admirals both have plenty of firepower featuring explosive guards.
Senior Zach Parker is averaging a team-leading 15 points a game for the Indians. Garrett Robinson and Tavonn Tyson produce 14 and 13 points a game. “Zach’s their best player,” Miller said. “He gives us the most concern because of his ability to score.”
Jashire Hardnett leads Gulfport with 18 points a game. All-South Mississippi performer Eddie Lee is second at 11 points and eight rebounds a game.
“As a sophomore, Hardnett’s the best point guard in the state,” Windham said. “We have the state’s best on-ball defender in Tevaris McCormick, but he’s playing at the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Football Classic.”
The Biloxi-Gulfport girls game will be a physical contest. The Lady Admirals have won eight of their first nine games, with Biloxi sporting a 9-2 record.
“It should be a good game,” Lady Admirals coach Donny Fuller said. “It’s a rivalry game and both teams are off to a good start.”
War on the Shore: The annual War on the Shore tournament will be held Saturday at St. Stanislaus.
The only girls contest, a No. 1 vs. No. 2 contest between Bay High and Gulfport, opens the day-long event at noon. Bay High defeated Gulfport earlier this season.
“We’re excited about the lineup,” St. Stanislaus coach Ricky Stone said. “It’s a nice matchup of teams that haven’t played each other this season. We’ve also got a little out-of-town flavor.”
Saturday’s games are Biloxi-Bay High, noon; St. Stanislaus-Seminary, 1:30 p.m.; Harrison Central-Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 3 p.m.; D’Iberville-Picayune, 4:30 p.m.; Pass Christian-St. Martin, 6 p.m.; Pearl River Central-Gulfport, 7:30 p.m.