The top-ranked girls’ basketball team in the state’s largest classification won’t be competing in the state playoffs this season.
The Hancock Lady Hawks, who headed into the Region 8-6A Tournament in Lyman this week at 27-1 overall, dropped their second straight game in the event Thursday night and saw their season come to a sudden and stunning halt.
Gulfport edged past Hancock 29-27 Thursday night in the consolation game at Harrison Central High School. The loss dropped the Lady Hawks to 27-3 overall which is where the final record will finish.
Gulfport was guided by Saniah Price with 10 points and Maddie Odell added eight points to the winning effort.
Hancock opened league tourney play on Monday and third-seed Biloxi stopped the Lady Hawks 42-30 earning a measure of revenge after HHS swept the Lady Indians in a pair of regular season games.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, fourth-seed Harrison Central shocked top-seed Gulfport 70-47 avenging a pair of regular season losses to the Lady Admirals and setting up a win-or-go-home battle between Gulfport and second-seed Hancock Thursday night.
The Lady Admirals and Lady Hawks had split a pair of regular-season meetings, but Gulfport got the top seed slot in the tourney due to a head-to-head point differential.
Hancock began the season on a 20-0 run, not losing in the first two months of the season. A 49-37 loss to Gulfport in their first meeting of the season in the first week of January was the only blemish in the regular season for the top-ranked Lady Hawks.
Until this week.
The Gulfport girls now qualify as the third seed from Region 8-6A and will hit the road to open the Class 6A state playoffs scheduled for Monday.
Elsewhere Thursday night, in the Region 8-4A Tournament at Bay High, the Greene County girls beat Moss Point 29-22 and earn the third seed in the event.
Alisia Johnson led the Lady Wildcats with 13 points in the win while Jordyn Ford tallied a game-high 16 points for the Lady Tigers in the loss.
And in St. Martin on Thursday night in the Region 7-6 Tournament, the Pascagoula Lady Panthers held off home-standing St. Martin 45-42 in the third-place consolation contest for the third and final seed for state playoff purposes in that league.
The decision marked the third straight win for Pascagoula, which was also the third seed in the tournament itself, over St. Martin which was the fourth seed in the event.
The Lady Panthers, who will hit the road to open the Class 6A state playoffs Monday night, got a game-high 16 points from A’miyah Hedrick in the win while Bethany Graves chipped in 12 points to the winning cause. St. Martin got 12 points from Jay Robinson while Teairra Lee added 10 points and Maiyah Jonson eight points for the Lady Yellow Jackets. It was the second straight close loss for head coach Jason Kennedy and the SMHS girls in the event as they also battled top-seedD’Iberville down to the wire on Tuesday before falling 37-34.