Tigers win Bay day

Bay High defeats rival SSC to rule Class 4A



 Bay High boys basketball coach Kelton Thompson was uncomfortable facing his former team for the Class 4A state championship.

Thompson eventually put those feelings aside on Friday night as the Tigers beat St. Stanislaus 51-39 to win the state title before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Guard Daron Bell scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Bay High (34-3), which overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit.

Thompson finished his Rockachaw career in 1996 at the state tournament and spent several seasons as an assistant under St. Stanislaus coach Jay Ladner.

“The media made a big deal out of my past relationship at St. Stanislaus,” Thompson said. “The credit should go to these kids. They worked hard, made plays and deserve the credit for winning a state title.”

Bay High’s last appearance at the state tournament came in 1958, but the Tigers made the most of their opportunity Friday night.

The rare matchup of Coast teams playing for the state championship last occurred in 2002, when Gulfport defeated Harrison Central for the 5A state crown.

By JAMES JONES – jkjones@sunherald.com

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