BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Lady Indians basketball team ended a 31-year drought.
The last time the Biloxi team cracked the girls championship tournament in Jackson was 1986. A new head coach recently ignited the Lady Indians, resulting in a trip to the campus of Jackson State for the Class 6A quarterfinal match-up with Tupelo.
Coach Devin Hill's resume includes leading the 2014 Itawamba AHS team to the girls Class 4A State Championship. In his first season at Biloxi, he boasted 23 wins, 9 losses as the Lady Indians remain in the hunt for the Class 6A State title.
Hill said, "We're just the product of hard work. We come in, we've got no days off mentality. It's been difficult for the girls, it's been a difficult adjustment for myself as well."
Coach Hill used an aggressive approach in preseason drills. Gabby Fantroy admits it paid off in the end.
"I know - for instance, coming back from a knee injury - we were running outside during the preseason and I'm thinking, 'I can't go, I can't go,'" said Fantroy. "And he's telling me keep pushing, keep pushing and he basically just showed us you can keep going."
A multi-talented Breanna Riley leads Biloxi with 13 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 steals per game. Riley, who took on a leadership role, says Coach Hill made them a better team.
"He's wonderful leading the team," stated Riley. "I mean, he has a positive attitude, leadership, all of that. He will help us bring home a win."
Anna Thigpen missed a good portion of the 2015-16 season, but made a gallant comeback this year.
"Last year I had surgery, so I couldn't play as much as I wanted to," said Thigpen. "Then I played AAU this summer, so it kind of prepared me for the season coming up. He also pushed us and he got us to where we are today."
A Biloxi win over Tupelo could set-up an all-Coast semifinal clash with Harrison Central. The quarterfinal match-up with Tupelo will be held at the JSU campus at 7 p.m. Saturday.