BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The game between West Harrison and Gulfport was tied 46-46 with 8.4 seconds left in overtime and West Harrison head coach Milton Ray called a timeout to decide what play he wanted his team to execute.
The first-year head coach had leading scorer Harvey Smart (16.2 ppg) and Zaylan Lee (11.8 ppg) as options, but relayed a message to his team that it would be junior guard Deanthony Bowie's chance to end it.
With one of his best friends, Gulfport's Jonathan "Biscuit" Floyd, guarding him, Bowie waved his teammates away from the spot at which he received the inbounds pass. After analyzing the clock, the Hurricanes' third-leading scorer stopped his dribble inside the arc, released a shot over Floyd and watched it drop through the hoop as time expired to give West Harrison a 48-46 win.
"Gulfport is such a good team," Bowie said. "They played good 'D'. The person that was on me, we're [close] outside of basketball.
"My team trusted in me so much. That just gave me even more confidence. I knew the coach wanted me to take the last shot because he passed up Harvey Smart, and y'all know Harvey Smart."
"We know we can play in hostile environments and big crowds," Ray said. "We wanted to let the guys know that they can play with anybody. Gulfport is a good opponent and a well-coached team. We knew it was going to be a tough game."
The Hurricanes had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Smart's three-point shot attempt fell well shy of the rim.
That opportunity happened after the game was suspended for about 20 minutes because of a series of fights that broke out inside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. According to Biloxi police, at least four juveniles were arrested for disturbing the peace.
When asked about the unusual reason for the stoppage of play, Ray said he'd only seen something like that on television.
"I've never been a part of anything like that in real life," Ray said. "That was something."
"That's why we started off so slow," Bowie said. "People shouldn't come out and do that. This is a basketball event. People shouldn't come out and do that."
West Harrison (16-2) has won seven consecutive games. Gulfport (12-7) had won seven of their previous eight games before the loss to the Hurricanes.