GULFPORT — Both the Gulfports boys and girls basketball teams have each won at least 20 games this season on the hardwood.
And that’s not the only set of two’s that the Admirals and Lady Admirals have in common in the current campaign either.
In a bit of an oddity, both Gulfport varsity teams include a set of twins on their respective rosters this year, and all four of the players have had stellar senior seasons and contributed mightily to the success of the perennial state power Gulfport basketball teams.
The starting line-up for the Lady Admirals most nights lists sisters Micah and Madison (Maddie) O’Dell, and when the boys take the court the Admirals march out brothers in the post in Kylan Howze and Jylan Howze.
Both Gulfport squads open the Class 6A state playoffs on the road Tuesday night at Terry High.
“It’s really an unusual situation in my opinion, to not only have two sets of twins at the same school as seniors on the same team but that all four are integral parts of their teams as well,” Gulfport boys head coach Owen Miller said on Monday afternoon in an exclusive interview with 228Spirts. “I mean there’s two of them on each side, and two is always better than one.”
The Admirals stand an impressive 24-6 overall on the season as they enter the playoffs, and the Howze twins have each made major contributions this season.
The 6-foot-9 Kylan has started at center for the past two seasons and dominated in the paint as he has set a school record for blocked shots in a single season this year, a season that is still underway. He is averaging 11 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks per game.
The 6-foot-8 Kylan is the standout sixth man and first off the bench in most cases for Miller, although he has been called upon to start at times and delivered in that role as well for the Admirals. He is averaging nine points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and two assists per contest.
Both of the Howze brothers have signed hoops scholarships with Jones Junior College.
“They both have been an integral part of our success this year,” Miller added. “Kylan has been that steady presence in the paint for us the past two years and Jylan just brings so much energy off of the bench for us every night. He would probably start every game at almost any other school in the state, but he’s been tremendous for us in the role of a sixth man. Both have just blossomed this season and have really come into their own in their senior season.”
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 are 21-9 this season entering the playoffs. 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.”
Three of the four twins were selected to represent Mississippi in the annual Mississippi/Alabama All-Star basketball Classic later this summer in Clinton on the campus of Mississippi College at A.E. Wood Coliseum. Both the O’Dell sisters and Kylan Howze were selected to those prestigious squads. Just like the Howze brothers, the O’Dell sisters plan on sticking together on the next level as well as they both have committed to sign with Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“It’s a rarity for sure, to not only have two separate sets of twins on teams at the same high school but that also all four of them are vital parts of their teams that contribute heavily to each,” Price concluded. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a situation like this, not only in Mississippi but anywhere.”
“If it’s ever happened before, I’m not aware of it,” Miller concluded. “But I’m certainly very happy that it happened here at Gulfport High School.”