It’ll seem like old home week for Region 8-6A as a prep basketball revival unfolds Saturday afternoon at Marvin White Coliseum on the campus of Pearl River Community College.
Four premiere Harrison County squads, three girls and one boys, will converge in Poplarville for the Class 6A South State quarterfinals. This round of the state playoffs is also known as the “Elite Eight”
The Biloxi Lady Indians tip things off at 4 p.m., taking on Northwest Rankin, followed by the Gulfport Lady Admirals vs. the Harrison Central lady Red Rebels at 5:30.
The Biloxi Indians are first up in the night session as boys’ action begins at 7 p.m., and like their female counterparts, Biloxi will also face Northwest Rankin. Overall quarterfinal play will finish out with the Terry Bulldogs vs. the Brandon Bulldogs at 8:30.
All four “Southern Six squads can lay the foundation for much of their success at the feet of their own respective “Dynamic Duos”.
The Biloxi girls are powered by senior standout Shaneal Corpuz, a William Carey signee, and eighth-grade center Zaniya Johnson.
Corpuzz, the heart and soul of the Lady Indians, is almost averaging a double-double on the season as she is hitting at just over 20 points per game as well as pulling down nine rebounds per contest. She is also averaging two points, two steals and a pair of blocks per game. Corpuz has been selected to play in the upcoming prestigious Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Basketball Classic soon in Clinton.
The youngster Johnson, in her first year as a starter, controls the paint for Biloxi as she is averaging right at 10 points and nine boards per game. The double trouble combo for Biloxi opponents has helped guide the Lady Indians to an impressive 24-6 record this season with a trip to the Final Four at The Big House in Jackson on the line Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the starting line-up for the Gulfport Lady Admirals most nights lists sisters Micah and Madison (Maddie) O’Dell, both of whom have also been selected to represent their home state in the upcoming prestigious Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Basketball Classic soon in Clinton.
Lady Admirals head coach Marcus Price is in his first year at the helm of the Gulfport girls after spending the past few years coaching the boys’ program at Laurel High School.
“I’d heard of them (the O’Dells) before I came here, but I had no idea how good they really were until I actually got here and saw them on the court,” Price said. “It’s been a real joy to coach them both, they are both tremendous talents. I’ve told them both that if I wasn’t their coach I’d pay money to see them play.”
The Lady Admirals currently sit 23-9 on the season. The 5-foot-6 Madison, from her point guard spot, is the leading scorer on the season for the Lady Admirals, averaging 19 points per game as well as four assists, three rebounds, and three steals per game.
Meanwhile, the versatile 5-foot-5 Micah can swing from forward to guard at any time as she is averaging eight points, eight rebounds, four steals, four assists and a pair of blocks this season.
“Madison is a dynamic scorer that can score the basketball on any level I believe,” Price added. “While Micah is our catalyst, everything we do goes through her. Together they form a really solid duo that also gets all of their teammates involved in every aspect of the game.”
The Harrison Central girls are riding a late-season surge into the quarterfinals. Harrison Central is led by junior Anaisha Carriere, who averages 14 points, three assists and two steals per game, as well as Dekeria Walls who puts in 11 points per game as well as eight rebounds per contest.
On the boys’ side of the ledger, veteran Biloxi head coach Seber Windham has a Dandy Dozen Dynamic Duo in place for the Indians. Seniors Duran Parish and James Turner have been a force to be reckoned with all season, as the Indians have compiled an impressive 24-3 record.
Turner is the shooting guard for the Indians, and he helped deliver his squad an invitation to the Class 6A South State quarterfinal round as he tallied 25 points in a 68-65 win over visiting Meridian in the second round of the playoffs last week at the Biloxi Sports Arena. 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 Turner who tallied 21 of his 25 points in the first two quarters including four 3-pointers.
Turner signed with Itawamba Community College.
Parish, a Vanderbilt football signee as a wide receiver, is making big plays with the roundball as well for the Indians as he led Biloxi with a game-high 27 points in that aforementioned second-round playoff win over the always-powerful Wildcats of Meridian. Parish nailed six key free throws in the fourth frame to close the game out. He also picked up in the second half after his teammate Turner cooled off a bit after that blazing first half as Parish put up 14 points in the second half and combined with Turner to produce a duo that just refused to lose. Parish drained five 3-pointers on the evening.