Annual Frazier-Yarbrough tourney kicks off Monday at MHS
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Dec. 10, 2000
The Frazier-Yarbrough Memorial has established itself as one of the state's oldest and best high school basketball tournaments.
The 2000 edition should only add to the tradition.
Seven schools will converge on Meridian High School and Meridian Community College this week for the annual Frazier-Yarbrough Memorial Coca-Cola Classic, which tips off Monday at MHS.
Traditional tourney participants West Lauderdale and Kemper County are not in this year's event, and Class 5A Starkville couldn't find a spot in its schedule for the FYM as organizers had hoped. But both brackets should be competitive especially in a loaded girls' side.
Of course, the obvious favorite will be Shirley's Meridian squad, which took a No. 1 ranking in the state and a 12-0 record into Saturday's game at home against Heidelberg.
The Lady Wildcats are led by senior post players Cantea Brown and Kanecia Williams, who are both averaging double-doubles. Junior point guard Stephanie Mosley is one of the state's top defenders at her position.
Noxubee County relies on post players Erlexis Cooper and Jessica Mason, and legendary head coach Narvel Colemon also has a solid guard duo in Shawnequa Rucker and Chaffie Spann.
The Tigerettes, after losing to Choctaw Central and Meridian to open the season, have reeled off 12 straight victories.
Choctaw, which has been battling injuries, features a deep attack centered around senior post player Melinda Ben and eighth-grader Chantay Frazier, as well as guard Crystal Lewis and three-point threats Ferne Denson and Shavon Willis.
Northeast relies on post players Dorecious Powe and Quin Jackson, while Nedra Hosey is trying to bring Heidelberg's girls back to the level of play they enjoyed under Vernell Lofton.
There's just one girls' game Monday, when Choctaw Central takes on Quitman at 6 p.m. Tuesday's contests have Northeast battling Heidelberg at 4:30 p.m. and Noxubee facing Clarkdale at 7:30 p.m.
Every team in the tournament is guaranteed two games, with first-round losers going into a consolation bracket.
The Noxubee/Clarkdale loser meets the Quitman/Choctaw Central loser at 6 p.m. Thursday at MCC, while the two winners meet in a semifinal showdown at 4 p.m. at Meridian High. Thursday's 7 p.m. semifinal pits the Northeast/Heidelberg winner against top-seeded Meridian, which gets a bye.
Friday's consolation final is at 4 p.m., and the girls' championship is set for 7 p.m.
Top-seeded Northeast Lauderdale and host Meridian High appear to be the favorites in the boys' field, which may be even more balanced than the girls' bracket.
In fact, the very first game of the tournament should be a barnburner, as Noxubee County and Quitman tangle in a boys' matchup at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The other opening-round Monday boys' game pits Meridian against Choctaw Central, while third-seed Heidelberg takes on Clarkdale Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Northeast's boys, which get a bye, take on the Noxubee/Quitman winner in Thursday's first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. The Heidelberg/Clarkdale winner meets the Meridian/Choctaw survivor at 8:30 p.m. in the other semifinal, while the losers of those two games tangle at 7:30 p.m. in a consolation contest at MCC.
Friday's boys' consolation final is at 5:30 p.m., and the championship is set for 8:30 p.m., both at MHS.
Meridian's girls and boys are the defending tournament champions.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.