PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast knows it has already clinched state and region playoff berths. There are still seedings at stake in both tournaments heading into regular-season finale Thursday against Southwest.
Bulldogs coach Wendell Weathers is more concerned about playing well on Sophomore Night as that group tries to improve on a 20-3 record at the Weathers/Wentzell Center. Those losses have come by a total of four points, and one was in overtime.
"If there's an advantage in any of these tournaments, you need to be opposite Jones in the bracket," he said. "Beyond that, I don' think it matters who you play. You've just got to show up and do the best you can do, play to the best of your ability to see how far you can go."
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with Sophomore Night ceremonies taking place immediately following the women's game, which starts at 5:30.
The Bulldogs (17-5, 9-4 MACJC South) face a tall challenge against the Bears (16-6, 10-3). Southwest has clinched the South's two-seed in the MACJC Tournament, which starts Tuesday in Ellisville.
Gulf Coast will finish third with a victory and would finish fourth if East Central wins and the Bulldogs lose. East Central entertains Hinds.
"We've got to take care of the ball," Weathers said. "Our defense when we played 5-on-5 was fine. Where we got into trouble was taking some bad shots and making careless turnovers that turned into layups for them."
In the Region 23 standings, Gulf Coast is third behind Jones and Northeast, which have clinched those spots. The Bulldogs could finish as low as fifth with a loss.
It will be the last home games for Davion Cole-Johnson (6-4, 210, So., Pike/Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Zach Parker (6-2, 185, So., Biloxi/Biloxi), Tedrian Brisco (6-5, 195, So., Porter's Chapel/Vicksburg), Zeke Lee (6-2, 194, Fr., West Harrison/Gulfport), Winston Morgan (5-10, 170, So., East Catholic/Manchester, Conn.) and Harvey Smart (6-3, 167, So., West Harrison/Gulfport).
"This group of kids, we're 17-5 with a chance to go 18-5," Weathers said. "Then if you win a couple games in the tournaments, you've got a 20-win season. This group of kids has worked really hard."
Morgan and Smart, two key contributors, have been integrated into the team almost on the fly, having transferred to Perk over the summer.
"At the end of the day, we may have overachieved," said Weathers.
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