Prior injuries slowed, but didn't stop, Gulf Coast basketball from winning

PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) - Gulf Coast basketball has won MACJC championships in the past. In fact, they won back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. However, head coach Wendell Weathers says the philosophy to get back to that point is really quite simple.

"Our guys have played really well this year," Weathers said. "They've rebounded the ball and they play well defensively. If we do those things this week, we'll be fine."

Two of the keys to the rebounding game and defensive play are sophomores Roger Woods and Rashad Perkins. Woods leads the team with 18.9 points per game and is second with 7.2 rebounds per contest, while Perkins averages 14 points and leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per game.

Freshman Micheal Lewis Jr., who only has 3.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, is a handful in the paint. His deflated numbers may be due to prior knee injuries. He actually tore his A-C-L not once, but twice -- his senior year of high school, and what was supposed to be his freshman season in Perkinston last year.

"It was my first year playing for Mississippi Gulf Coast because I tore my ACL last year," Lewis Jr. said. "We had a good season this year."

"It's taken him some time to get back into the swing of things and get into a groove but he's getting better every day," Weathers said. "Mike's going to be a very good player when he gets through."

Then there's the quarterback on the court -- sophomore point guard Chris Bilbo. He's third on the team in scoring and first in assists with over four per game.

He also had to deal with a preseason injury that kept him less than 100% in the 10 games before the winter break. Once January rolled around, though, he was tough to stop.

"The season really went by fast," Bilbo said. "I didn't expect to be leaving this early. I want to leave here on the right note with two championships -- conference and national."

"Our team is going to go pretty much how Chris Bilbo goes," Weathers said. "He's kept us going in the right direction. We're where we want to be."

Freshman guard Tony Bridges, who is committed to play football for the Auburn Tigers, is another piece to the Gulf Coast puzzle. The 6-foot-2 guard (and cornerback) averages nearly eight points per game.