Meridian boys cruise
SOARING Matthew Gonzalez,1, flies for a Meridian goal against Laurel's Jarris McCray, 14. The goal helped Meridian win 68- 54. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
June 22, 2001
Jason Windom put on a clinic here at Meridian High School Thursday afternoon, as his Wildcats cruised to a 68-54 State Games opening victory over the Tornadoes from Laurel. Windom stuffed consecutive dunks in the last minute of play, capping off his game-high 25 point outing.
"Jason had a big game for us," MHS head coach Ernie Watson said of his sophomore. "He's a great athlete. If he continues to grow and mature like we expect he will, then he's going to be a tremendous asset to our team in the future."
Laurel took an early 3-2 lead as Jarris McCray busted a deep three just two minutes into the ball-game. Windom quickly answered back by converting a three-point play on a shot inside and a free throw, putting the Cats on top 5-3.
After being tied at 11 apiece, Meridian used a 6-0 run that had them up 17-11 with 4:48 left to play in the half. The Tornadoes weren't going away though as Jocquin Moss scored five quick points on a lay-up and three-pointer, to bring them to within 17-16.
The home-standing Wildcats ended the half with a 12-4 run and led 32-20 at the break. During that run, Windom got two powerful buckets inside and Tony Dunn drilled two triples from the wing and the Cats had their biggest lead of the game.
Jermaine Cobbins hit a running one-hander inside, and Moss hit one of two free throws that saw Laurel cut it to 23-32 early in the second half. But once again Meridian got a big play from Windom as he converted a tough basket underneath the goal and was fouled. His free-throw was good and the three-point play put MHS back on top by 12, 35-23.
The Wildcats began to wear Laurel down mid-way through the second half and pull away for the victory.
"We try to get our 10 or 11 best players and platoon them in and out like we did tonight," Watson said. "We feel like if we can do that, then it will really pay off for us down the stretch and I think that was the case tonight."
Windom gave the sparse crowd at MHS a show by flushing two one-handed dunks in the game's last minute. He finished with 25 points for the game and was the only Wildcat in double figures.
Laurel got a big game from Cobbins who netted 16 for the Tornadoes.
Meridian returns to action today at 1:15 p.m. against Coffeeville, while Laurel faces Wayne County at noon.
In other boys action on Thursday West Lauderdale blasted Walnut 72-19 at Meridian Community College's Ivy Sports Center. The Knights play Brandon in the 7:30 night cap at MCC.
In the late game at MCC on Thursday, Northeast Lauderdale bested Meridian's "B" team, 58-42. The Trojans face Walnut at noon today, while MHS's "B" team plays Walnut at 5:00 p.m. Both games will once again be played at MCC.