BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Gulfport and Biloxi are two familiar foes.
“We played them probably seven times during the summer this year," Biloxi senior guard Jervin Smith said. "It’s really just who executes the game-plan better because everybody knows everybody. They know what we run, we know what they run.”
“Gulfport and Biloxi is the oldest rivalry in the state of Mississippi," Gulfport head coach Owen Miller said. "I think it’s the longest basketball game that’s still being played. The rivalry goes back way before all of us. Fourteen state championships between the two teams. Tons of great players, tons of great coaches, I’m honored to be a part of the rivalry.”
It’s a rivalry that has been as competitive as can be over the last year. While the Indians have won nine of the last 10 match-ups, the last three meetings have been decided by a combined one point - and while the level of competition is awfully high, the level of respect for each other is even higher.
“They have a great coach in Seber Windham, very experienced coach,” Miller said. “They have a great program. Lot of tradition there.”
“Coach Miller is a very good coach,” Windham said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I have my guys ready, I know he’s going to have his guys ready.”
As if the history between the two sides and win-or-go-home scenario aren’t enough, the quarterfinal edition of this rivalry will feature an added twist - playing at the Coliseum.
“It’s a big rivalry game, so you know it’s going to be good competition and a good atmosphere with the crowd," Gulfport senior Gregg Magee said. "There’s going to be people from everywhere. We’re playing at the Coliseum, so it’s going to be a good atmosphere.”
“It’s going to be crazy. I know it’s going to be crazy," Smith said. "It’s going to be packed with a lot of energy. Big shots, big dunks, there will be a lot of that. It’s going to be a good game all the way around, I can’t wait.”
With a week off between their last games and tomorrow's showdown, both sides are ready to go to battle.
“We have to go in there, do what we have to do and play together,” Magee said. "We can’t have any heroes on the team, we have to play as one.
“We don’t want to lose to Gulfport, and Gulfport doesn’t want to lose to us," Smith said. "You’re going to get everybody’s A-game, a thousand percent. I guarantee it. Get there early, get your seat, get your popcorn and drinks ready. It’s going to be a show.”