BILOXI — The home-standing Biloxi girls and boys basketball teams opened the Class 6A playoffs each in fine fashion Friday night against visiting Meridian.
In the night’s first game at the Biloxi Sports Arena, the Lady Indians bounced by the Lady Wildcats 53-34, and the Indians followed that up with an exciting 68-65 decision over the Wildcats.
The wins vault both BHS squads into the Class 6A quarterfinal round, which will take place beginning Thursday at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville. Both the Lady Indians and Indians won Region 8-6A Tournament titles giving each a bye in the first round of the state playoffs which began earlier in the week.
The Biloxi girls moved to 24-6 with their latest win, and the Lady Indians have now won six straight games under the direction of head coach Devin Hill.
Meridian actually led 8-6 after a sluggish first quarter from Biloxi, but the Lady Indians would make their move in the second stanza behind eighth-grade center Zaniya Johnson.
Johnson went to work inside the paint and tallied eight points in the period, as Biloxi out-scored the Lady Wildcats 15-3 in that span and in the process took a double-digit 21-11 lead into halftime.
Meridian would never get any closer the rest of the contest.
Senior standout Shaneal Corpuz went to work in the third frame, scoring 10 points i the frame as BHS outscored MHS 15-6 in the period and breezed into the fourth quarter with a 36-17 lead.
Corpuz registered yet another double-double on the night, pouring in a game-high 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Biloxi guard Amari Meredith finished with 12 points, all coming on four made 3-pointers and Johnson just missed a double-double as she scored nine points and collected 10 boards.
In the boys’ game, Biloxi moved to an impressive 24-3 overall on the second with the close win over the Wildcats.
The Indians seemed to be in control of the contest at halftime, enjoying a comfortable 40-23 lead thanks in part to a fantastic first half by senior Dandy Dozen shooting guard James Turner who tallied 21 points in the first two quarters including four 3-pointers.
Meridian cut the deficit to 13, at 53-40, entering the final frame, yet all still seemed well for the Indians.
But the Wildcats went on a 25-point flurry in the fourth quarter, including four 3-pointers by Devin Portis in the stanza, out-scoring Biloxi by 10 points in the period but the Indians were able to hold on to the win as Duran Parish nailed six key free throws to close the game out.
Parish, yet another senior Dandy Dozen standout for the Indians, tallied a game-high 27 points for the Indians. Although Turner cooled off a bit in the second half after that blazing first half he still collected 25 points in the win combining with Prish to produce a dynamic duo that just refused to lose. Parish drained five 3-pointers on the evening.
Portis led Meridian in the valiant comeback attempt with 22 points.
Both Biloxi teams will next play on Sat., Feb., 25th at PRCC.