By Robert Wilson
Photos by Chris Todd

       CLINTON – Raymond’s 6-foot-9 sophomore EJ Paymon – rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi in the Class of 2025 by ESPN – had 25 points, 23 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to lead the defending MHSAA Class 4A state champion Rangers over MHSAA Class 6A Biloxi 73-70 in overtime Monday night in the Rumble in the South tournament at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum.

       Raymond, which has won the 4A state title four of the last six years, improved to 15-6. Biloxi dropped to 16-2.

       Paymon – who has been offered by Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas Christian University and New Mexico State – made 10 of 15 from the field, 2 of 2 from 3-point range, and 3 of 4 from the free throw line. He had two steals and one assist. Senior guard Zhakeius Jackson had 10 points and three assists for Raymond.

       Senior guard Duran Parish, a Vanderbilt football signee, led Biloxi with 23 points, including a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to play to send the game into overtime. James Turner had 13 points and Beau Miles had 10 points for Biloxi.

       Raymond scored the first six points in overtime and Biloxi couldn’t catch up. Biloxi missed a game-tying 3-point shot with 3 seconds to play to send the game into the second overtime.