Wildcats topple No. 5 Tigers
AIRBORN n Meridian's Tony Dunn puts up an acrobatic one-handed shot against Hattiesburg Tuesday night in MHS' win over the No. 5 Tigers. Phpto by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Jan. 10, 2001
When the final horn sounded, Meridian High head coach Ernie Watson didn't mince words.
The Wildcats' 78-68 upset of the fifth-ranked Hattiesburg Tigers was huge.
Although relieved may have been a good way to describe Watson's demeanor afterward, surprised at how the game panned out certainly was not.
The 'Cats, led by Jeremy Ruffin's 22 points , jumped out to an 18-point second half lead only to see it dwindle down to four with 4:19 remaining.
It didn't help, as the 'Cats (16-5) went to the inside game, pounding the ball down low to extend the lead.
Tony Dunn, who finished the night with seven points, took it coast to coast to balloon the lead to 48-30 at the 5:00 mark of the third.
But the Tigers (20-3) came storming back behind James Ball. The Tiger swingman put in nine of his 20 points in the latter portion of the third quarter to help get his team back in the contest.
If that's true, then the Tigers had no answer for Ruffin. Early in the second quarter with MHS up by four points, his bruising pass breakup and thunderous dunk on the other end seemed to ignite MHS' intensity level.
Jamaine Williams cleaned the glass for 11 of the team's 26 rebounds to go with his 16 points.
Michael Davis added eight points.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.