Bay St. Louis parade dodges the raindrops

         

BAY ST. LOUIS

By the time they got to J.D. McCullough Stadium, the spitting rain had given way to a downpour.

But that failed to dampen the enthusiasm on Saturday in a celebration for the city’s state championship athletics squads, led by Bay High’s boys basketball team, which won the Class 4A state title with a 51-39 victory over crosstown rival St. Stanislaus.

A parade through downtown Bay St. Louis took numerous floats and vehicles down Main Street and then along Beach Blvd. before crossing U.S. 90 and arriving at the Tigers’ football stadium. They held a cookout near the concession area while trying to stay dry.

“The whole city can take a lesson from our state champions,” Bay St. Louis mayor Les Fillingame told the crowd.

Bay High boys’ basketball coach Kelton Thompson served as a Grand Marshal for the parade and led the procession holding the Gold Ball Trophy while riding on the back of a white convertible.

“The whole city’s been excited about it,” Thompson said.

The Tigers finished 34-3 for the school’s first state championship in boys basketball. But they had to share the love with Our Lady Academy’s Class 2A state champion athletes in volleyball, soccer and cross country, along with St. Stanislaus’ football and soccer state champions. The Bay High Steppers dance team also was recognized for their state championship and rode through town on a fire truck.

The Tigers’ players sported T-shirts recognizing their accomplishments with the phrase, ‘We Got a Piece of Everything’ underneath the scores of the games on their backs.

“We were happy to bring a Gold Ball back to Bay St. Louis,” Bay High forward Daron Bell said. “The rain came down, but we could deal with that.”

A unified spirit was on display as the St. Stanislaus Regiment marched during the parade, along with the Bay High Marching Band.

“We’re rivals, but a lot of these kids grew up together,” said Thompson, who was an assistant at SSC before becoming the Tigers’ head coach. “The schools are probably as close as they’ve ever been.

“I’m really happy for our team. They got to see the fruits of their labor. Hopefully they can take some of the lessons from this experience and apply them for what they see in the future.”

By JIM MASHEK – jwmashek@sunherald.com

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