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Championship dreams MHS, Southeast take hoop hopes to Big House'

By Staff
GOING FOR THE BIG ONE n Meridian High School's Stephanie Mosley hopes to help the Lady Wildcats bring home the Class 5A state championship Friday night. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 8, 2001
Coming Friday: Championship game previews
JACKSON The Mississippi Coliseum  nicknamed the "Big House" could be packed to the rafters Friday with Lauderdale County basketball fans as a pair of teams go for high school state championships.
Southeast Lauderdale takes on South Pontotoc at 1 p.m. in the Class 3A girls' state title game; then Meridian High goes after its first-ever Class 5A state championship at 6:15 p.m. against No. 1 Tupelo.
Southeast, 31-8, is looking for its first state title since 1968 after a thrilling win over Division 5-3A rival Choctaw Central in last Friday's state semifinals. The Lady Tigers have won 23 of their last 25 games.
South Pontotoc, ranked No. 7 in the state, is 35-3 and has a 29-game winning streak.
Ironically, the last time Southeast was in a state final was in 1988, when Donald Shirley was the Lady Tigers' head coach. Shirley is at Meridian now, and he'll be looking for his first championship ring Friday against Tupelo.
Meridian is 32-4, with one of those losses coming to Tupelo in a Christmas tournament at Columbus. The top-ranked Lady Wave are 31-2 with just one loss in Mississippi.
Tupelo has eliminated Meridian in Girls State Tournament play at "The Big House" each of the past two seasons.
Shirley said he'd love to take in the Southeast game Friday afternoon, but didn't want to change his team's routine.
Miller echoed those thoughts when talking about Meridian.
Southeast and Meridian shouldn't be hurting for support, however. As of Wednesday, both schools had plans in place to take student buses to Friday's championship games.
Rocky Higginbotham is sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.