MHS rounding into form; how 'bout the Big Three?
JAN. 12, 2001
Thoughts whizzing about my head as I remember watching a thunderous Jeremy Ruffin two-handed stuff and marvel at how the Wildcats aren't ranked:
Well, a long football season came to a close for me last weekend and boy, did it end at the right time.
Because now I can let those of you who don't already know in on a little secret…
There's a lot of good basketball being played in the state this year.
We have a slew of great high school teams out there.
Meridian High's girls and boys teams are rounding into form.
Those who saw last Tuesday's double dip with Hattiesburg know what I'm talking about. West Lauderdale, Newton County, Southeast and Choctaw Central's girls are all having great seasons, and what Monique Horner is doing this season is something special.
Last weekend I also had the privilege of watching some great basketball when working the Enterprise Tournament.
Congratulations to all of those teams for entertaining what was a good crowd all three nights.
One more thought about the preps … We need to hear from Sumter County's boys and girls, as well as the other folks in the area who aren't calling in their games.
We are hearing the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats are getting it done over in York and we want everyone else to know about it too.
As for the folks who are calling, keep up the good work of calling in.
In the junior college ranks, all of our area teams are also competitive and could be in or near the thick of the playoff hunt come March.
But perhaps what might have people buzzing the most is the Big Three.
Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Mississippi State have all gotten off to crazy starts. Fans all over the state realize that not only is there great college football, but the hoopsters can tear it up as well.
Last night's last-second loss to Florida was disappointing for the MSU Bulldogs, but they have shown they have talent and heart and it will be an exciting SEC race.
Down in Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles are 10-3 and last night's 63-49 win over the DePaul Blue Demons at Reed Green Coliseum was impressive to say the least. The Golden Eagles have the tools to really compete for the Conference USA crown. I don't know if they will win it, but they have some tools.
And last but certainly not least, the Ole Miss Rebels are tearing it up.
But with no disrespect intended whatsoever to the other two, these guys are no surprise.
At least not to me.
I covered Ole Miss a few times during last season, including a nail-biting loss to the Stromile Swift/Jabari Smith-led LSU Tigers in the season finale down in Baton Rouge.
I also did the first two rounds of the NIT that took place at Tad Smith Coliseum.
What I, and I'm sure what the rest of the rank and file saw, was a glimpse of what could be.
It may be coming to fruitition this year.
Rahim Lockhart, Jason Flanigan and Jason Harrison are leading Rod Barnes' team straight to an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Yep, that's right. They will be there.
Yeah, I know what you are saying, Whoop-de-doo, some prediction, dude, these guys are 14-1.
Well, here's another, I'd be willing to bet each of the Big Three crack into the field of 64.
Bold statement? You bet. Crazy?
It can and will happen.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.