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Meridian moved north for hoops

By By Robbie Robertson/The Meridian Star
Dec. 6, 2000
Meridian High School football coaches weren't really surprised when the Mississippi High School Activities Association released football regions.
But the same can not be said for MHS basketball coaches.
In the recently released basketball divisions, Meridian was moved out of its traditional spot in the south and placed with Tupelo, Starkville and Columbus in the north.
Meridian plays in the South in football. Baseball and softball divisions haven't been released yet.
The decision has put Meridian coaches and Athletic Director Mac Barnes to work, trying to come up with an alternative for the MHSAA.
Barnes biggest contention was the loss of potential revenues generated from rivalries created by traditional divisional foes.
Barnes said he and the coaches are discussing whether or not to appeal the decision. They have until Dec. 13 to appeal.
As far as the coaches are concerned, MHS boys basketball coach Ernie Watson wasn't overjoyed by the decision and he isn't alone.
Watson told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo "I can't believe this. This will be the toughest division in the state."
The recent basketball polls back up Watson's claims. Tupelo, Columbus and Starkville were all ranked in the Top 15 in Tuesday's edition of the Clarion-Ledger.
Watson said he believed that Meridian would compete in 6-5A with Brandon, Northwest Rankin and Forest Hill.
Meridian High girls coach Donald Shirley, whose team is currently ranked No. 1 in the state, declined comment on the matter Friday after the divisions were released.
Elsewhere around The Meridian Star coverage area, Wayne County was placed with Brandon, Northwest Rankin and Forest Hill in Class 5A.
In Class 4A, 3A and 2A, the divisions stayed the same as the football regions. In Class 1A, Noxapater and Nanih Waiya will compete in 5-1A with St. Joe, Durant, McAdams and Ethel. Edinburg, Sebastopol, Lake and Union will compete in 6-1A with Thomastown, Pisgah and Pelahatchie.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rrobertson@themeridianstar.com.

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