by Hunter Dawkins
The heat from Brother Peter Memorial Gymnasium in Bay St. Louis lifted the temperature Saturday night, as the 20th Annual War On The Shore took place. Teams from all across the Coast and across state lines came to play in the setup established by legendary basketball coach Jay Ladner.
Ladner coached St. Stanislaus for 20 years with 10 state tournament appearance and a state championship in 2010 before leaving for Hattiesburg to return to his alma mater, Oak Grove High School. Following this brief stint, Ladner was hired by Jones County Junior College in Ellisville where he won the National Junior College Championship in his second year. After, Ladner was hired by Southeastern Louisiana University as the Head Basketball Coach, where the team won the Southland Conference regular season championship and participated in the NIT Tournament last year.
“What we were simply trying to do in this ‘War on the Shore’ game was to help promote basketball and try to put on a class event,” said Ladner. “We wanted to bring positive attention to our program, I know Coach (Aaron) Dunklin has gone a long way in trying to renew it.”
The opening matchup featured the Hancock Hawks against the Moss Point Tigers. Coming back from 13 points down in the fourth period, the St. Stanislaus Alum, Hancock Head Basketball Coach Derrick Willis led a defensive strike of only allowing 8 points and converting a jumper at the end for a 48-46 victory for the Hawks. The victory improved Hancock’s record to 2-7.
Long Beach 64 Forrest County AHS 60
In a tight game against a well-disciplined Forrest County Aggies team, the Bearcats (7-3) used an early scoring performance for a 64-60 victory. Jumping on a 22-point first period, Senior Forward Calvin Johnson and Sophomore Shooting Guard Khaleb Marks connected two three-point baskets for an early 22-17 first period lead.
Senior Guard Orlasko Barnes contributed 5 points to put Long Beach in for a 37-32 halftime lead.
“The Picayune victory from last night (63-58) had kind of a hangover effect on us tonight,” said Long Beach Basketball Head Coach Brandon Cobb. “The Aggies had a lot of guys that can shoot the ball well, so we wanted to close out on the shooters defensively.”
Coming out of halftime, the Bearcats bombarded the score with an 18-8 third period with Long Beach Freshman Guard Malik Handy and Sophomore Guard Davion Henry adding in 5 points each.
Forrest County rallied back with great guard play, but the Bearcats took enough at the free throw line to secure the victory.
Bearcats Johnson led all scoring with 18 points, Handy had 15, Marks finished with 11.
Long Beach hosts Hancock Tuesday at 7:30pm.
West Harrison 60 St. Stanislaus 52
The final game brought the crowd up on its feet, as the host St. Stanislaus (SSC) Rockachaws (3-10) looked to grab revenge from November 20th loss from the West Harrison Hurricanes. With a first period 14-14 tie and quick four point, multiple offensive rebound performance from SSC Junior Forward Dallas Payne, the contest looked to be tight.
West Harrison (7-6) cooled the Rockachaws heat by outscoring them before halftime 23-15, with a 3-point shooting clinic led by Hurricanes Junior Guard Brandon Brock.
Despite the tough guard play by SSC’s Brandon Bordelon and Luke Ladner in the second half, the Hurricanes matched the Rockachaws by bucket with superb guard play from West Harrison Senior Ashton Hawkins.
“Any time you play at St. Stanislaus, you better expect them to play hard,” said West Harrison Head Basketball Coach Tommy Seawright. “We had a tough night before against Pearl River Central, but we had great guard play.”
West Harrison was led by Hawkins in scoring with 14 points, Brock recorded 13 and three 3-point baskets, and Senior Jeremy Lane had 10 points.
The Hurricanes play against D’Iberville after the Christmas break in a neutral tournament.
“We are just trying to figure out some consistency,” said St. Stanislaus Head Basketball Coach Aaron Dunklin. “I think you’ve seen parts of that throughout the game; when we’re good, we’re good.”
SSC’s Bordelon scored 13 points, Payne had 12, and Ladner finished with 11.
St. Stanislaus plays in a Pensacola tournament after the Christmas holidays.