Wildcats take OT win
By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
Jan. 19, 2002
It ain't over until it's over. Meridian made both its fans and Heidelberg aware of that point here Friday night in an incredible high school boys' basketball game on the new renovated floor at the Meridian Physical Education Building.
The Wildcats erased an eight-point deficit in the final 25.7 seconds of regulation sending the clash of two of the area's top boys' teams into overtime.
There, Meridian broke in front and then held off Heidelberg to take the 94-89 win. For the Wildcats, it was their fourth-straight win in 2002. They are now 14-9 on the season. But they won't have long to celebrate today at 3 p.m. the Wildcats face No. 1 ranked Jackson Murrah at the Terry Classic.
The Lady Wildcats were also victorious as they defeated the Lady Oilers 61-45.
Senior guard Tony Dunn said Windham's shot that cut the Oiler lead to one at 79-78 with 12.7 seconds left, was huge.
On the inbound, the Wildcats fouled Derrick Turner with 11.5 seconds left. He made one of two free throws for an 80-78 advantage.
Meridian came down with Keno Leflore driving the lane and drawing the foul. It was something Meridian did a lot of. The Cats went to the line 58 times in the game and made 37 free throws.
The biggest two were by Leflore with 7.2 ticks left that tied it at 80-80. Heidelberg never got a shot off and the game headed into overtime.
Meridian got the tip and Leflore again got fouled. He made both shots for an 82-80 lead. The Wildcats would never trail in the overtime.
Heidelberg's best chance to answer came on a shot by Marvin McDonald who was hotter than a firecracker in regulation. McDonald, who had seven treys over the first four quarters, was too long on his only shot in overtime.
Windham got a quick pass off the carom and rattled home a slam to make it 84-80. Two more free throws by Leflore made it a six-point game. The Oilers' first points in overtime didn't come until 40 seconds remained on a tip-in by Travis Stephens.
Heidelberg head coach Ted Williams was proud of his team despite the bitter loss.
McDonald, who finished with 30 points before fouling out in overtime, hit on five treys in the first half. His 27-footer with one second left gave Heidelberg a 35-29 halftime lead.
Meridian came back with an 11-2 run to take its first lead since the early going at 41-40. It would switch four more times before the Oilers went up 56-51 following another trey by McDonald.
The Oilers would take a 64-53 lead early in the fourth but Meridian would fight back. The Wildcats got it down to one at 72-71 following a basket by Leflore and a free throw from Fred Cole.
Heidelberg answered with a put back by Fred Stephens and what appeared to be the clincher, a running 10-footer in the lane by McDonald with 45 seconds to go. That put the Oilers up 76-71 and the crowd began heading to the exits.
A free throw followed by a tip-in by Turner made it 79-71 with 25.7 to go.
Dunn led Meridian with a game high 31 points. Leflore had 18. Windham and Theo Naylor had 12 apiece. Cole chipped in nine.
Turner had 15 for the Oilers who had five players foul out. Joe Agee, a reserve, scored 11 and Stephens had nine.
Meridian Girls 61
Lost in the boys' madness was perhaps the Lady Wildcats' best game of the season. Meridian beat the Heidelberg girls for the third time this season with the 61-45 victory.
Meridian moves to 14-9 with the win.
Meridian led 27-24 af the half. The Lady Wildcats answered a quick Heidelberg basket with an 11-1 run to go up 38-27. It was 43-34 after three quarters.
The Lady Oilers got it down to 46-41 but three-point plays by Stephanie Mosley and Wade thwarted the challenge and Meridian boosted its lead back to 11.
Valencia Hairston led the way with 26 points. Mosley had 11 with Kierra Williams and Wade having six each.
Princess Bender tossed in 18 for Heidelberg.