‘Fiery’ Maddox Noblitt and the Greyhounds shooting for a district championship

Collin Goley threw his hands up in the international sign of coaches’ exasperation.

He had just watched a freshman guard at Ocean Springs unleash a thunderous block on the low post and followed it up with a steal to end a key possession in what was a tight game between Goley’s Hancock Hawks and the Greyhounds.

That was nearly two years ago. Maddox Noblitt is now a junior — and about three inches taller — and Goley is standing on the Blue and White bench as the newest leader of the Greyhound basketball program.

The two are paired up with one goal in mind: to bring OSHS a district title for the first time since 2018. And Goley knows he’s got the star to do it with.

“When I coached against Maddox, he was a kid that was fiery,” Goley told the Sun Herald. “Very competitive. Very skilled. He loves to win and he’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

Goley is a Greyhound product himself. A 2008 graduate who is back to help return his alma mater to the top of a difficult district.

His fundamental and defensive approach makes Goley and perfect match with Noblitt. The forward is of the three-and-D mold with a knack for creating havoc on defense with his length.

“One thing that I did notice with him is his athleticism and the way he likes to guard,” Goley said. “He’s very fun to coach.”

Noblitt and Goley aiming for a new era

Ocean Springs has reached the playoffs every year since its last district championship, but always as a sneak-in as a three-seed and always one-and-done.

Reclassification adds another layer to the already challenging road ahead, forcing the Greyhounds to contend with the likes of Gulfport, Harrison Central, Biloxi and D’Iberville.

According to Noblitt, Goley’s team-centric approach is giving them the confidence they need.

“He’s a more defensive-oriented coach,” Noblitt said. “He wanted us to buy into the team. He made it all about the team.”

And the Greyhounds do have the weapons around Noblitt, too. The junior has been partnered with point Elijah Isom for a couple of seasons now, and the two have grown together through the varsity program.

Their chemistry has made Goley’s job easier.

“They play off each other really well,” Goley said. “Elijah has done a really good job being a distributor. They’ve bought into feeding off one another. It’s been a pleasure to coach, a pleasure to see.”

Noblitt calls Isom the quarterback of the team and says the senior has an ability to “make things happen.” Noblitt is equipped with a smooth deep ball — something he showed off four different times in a recent 14-point showing against Saraland — and works it seamlessly off of Isom’s slash-and-kick ways.

The two together and the Greyhounds around them give Goley reason to think his first team can make a legitimate run.

“We got all the pieces, we just got to put it together,” Goley said. “That starts every day at practice.”

Staying focused

Noblitt had a busy summer. He watched a lot of basketball, worked to improve his ball handling and got some good news from a major recruiting service.

ESPN debuted Noblitt in their class of 2025 rankings as a four-star player and the No. 2 player in his class in the state behind Canton’s Jamarion Fleming.

Noblitt is grateful for the recognition but says his mind is focused on his team.

“I want to win a district championship and hopefully make a run at state,” Noblitt said. “I want to win.”

The guard says he currently isn’t holding a scholarship offer. His sentiments on basketball recruiting in Mississippi echoes that of many coaches around the region: The state is overlooked.

But that’s not where his mind is now. Noblitt is locked in on attaining Goley’s vision for the program.

“My vision is to update that banner from 2018,” Goley said. “To win a district championship and keep rolling after that. This is the No. 1 school district in the state. I want it to be the best basketball program in the state.”

Ocean Springs is 2-1 in the early going and has significant tests coming against Pascagoula and Hancock before opening district play Dec. 8 against St. Martin.