BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The tournament of all basketball tournaments. The 25th annual HoopsFest featured several teams on the coast, showcasing the best basketball talent South Mississippi has to offer.
What started 25 years ago with six teams and only three games played has grown exponentially as 14 teams put on a performance in front of hundreds in the 2019 event. This year’s tournament not only featured games between coast rivals and 3-point contest, but a “Unified basketball game” that allowed special needs students from Ocean Springs High School to showcase their skills on the court.
The tournament started off with a high-scoring, highly-contested game between Pass Christian and Long Beach, in which the Pirates would edge the Bearcats 69-68 in a shootout.
The Rock-a-chaws of St. Stanislaus took on the Hancock Hawks. The “Rocks" played a great game defensively as they held Hancock to just 18 points for a 37-18 victory.
Picayune faced off against D’iberville once that game concluded and early on, the Warriors and Maroon Tide were evenly matched. Picayune explodes offensively in the second half for a sound 66-42 win.
The St. Martin Yellow Jackets, just like St. Stanislaus, imposed their will on defense, holding Bay High to just 2 points in the 2nd and 4th quarters of their game, with St. Martin winning big 42-16.
After the Unified game, where the blue team beat the white in the final seconds, Gulfport and Stone High took the floor. Nothing came easy as both teams traded baskets in the early going, but the Admirals would make a run late and didn’t look back as Gulfport won 59-47.
The prime time game of the night featured undefeated Biloxi (22-0) against Florence (14-5) who were led by Mississippi State commit Jaylen Forbes, who is averages 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Indians came out hot offensively, but so did the Eagles as Florence matched Biloxi point for point in the first half. Biloxi refused to lose their first game of the season and have their win streak snapped as they took it up a notch in the second half to come up with a 63-48 win in the end.
Highlights of the event in the video above.