GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - To be the best you have to beat the top teams and Gulfport has earned another opportunity to play top-ranked Meridian Saturday night in the second-round of the Class 6A state basketball playoffs. The Wildcats are the so-called team to beat for the state championship.
Gulfport head coach Owen Miller knows exactly what it takes to win a state title. He guided the 2014 Admirals to the top of the mountain.
His 2016-17 Admirals opened the playoffs Tuesday night with a 66-55 win over Terry, giving Gulfport its 16th victory in 27 games.
Two of the Admirals defeats were at the hands of No. 1 ranked Meridian, losing 64 to 40 and 50 to 39 in December.
You guessed it, Gulfport's win over Terry propelled the Admirals to another showdown with the highly talented Meridian. It will take a stellar effort to subdue the 26 and 2 Wildcats.
Miller said, "We'll have to play spectacular to have a chance to win, but our guys understand that. You know, crazier stuff has happened. We just have to go up there, give our best shot and see what happens, but we're thrilled to be in the game."
Playmaker Miles Daniels nets 13.5 points per game and 3.7 assists. He welcomes another shot at Mighty Meridian.
"Anything can happen, that's what our coach tells us and it just takes us as a whole and as individuals, believing that we can beat Meridian, "said Daniels.
Oliver McDowell said, "They're good. We just have to mentally prepare ourselves and get ready to go to Meridian Saturday night."
Coach Miller will devise a game plan that should have the Admirals in position to give Meridian a stern test. Will it be enough? We will find out on Saturday.