Wildcats down Olive Branch
DEFENSE Meridian's Matthew Gonzalez tries to steal the inbound throw to Olive Branch's Bon Austin. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports director
Feb. 20, 2002
Meridian High School boys basketball coach Ernie Watson wasn't surprised when his 19-10 Wildcats played sluggish first half in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A North State Tournament on Tuesday night.
He also wasn't surprised when they turned it on in the second half to take a 65-49 win over visiting Olive Branch on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats are set to take on Clinton in the North State semifinals at 8 p.m. on Friday at Horn Lake High School. The Arrows beat Murrah 53-43 to earn the spot.
The other semifinal has host Horn Lake a 50-43 winner over Columbus taking on Natchez at 6:30 p.m. Natchez clobbered Callaway 84-68 on Friday. Winners and losers square off on Saturday afternoon with the top four teams advancing to the MHSAA Class 5A State Tournament the following week. Horn Lake is located just south of Memphis.
Meridian trailed 13-11 at the end of the first quarter was up by just three 29-26 at the half. But Watson said he felt all along that in the end his team would prevail.
The two teams combined for just 12 points in the third quarter, with MHS leading 36-31 with eight minutes left to play.
MHS led 42-38 with 6:12 left in the game, but MHS scored 15 of the next 18 points to go up 57-41 on three straight buckets by Jason Windom, the last coming with 1:48 to play in the game.
Windom led all scorers in the game with 15 points, while Quann Carlisle scored 12 and Keno Leflore hit for 10. Theo Naylor added nine for the Wildcats.
Adam Thorne scored 12 to lead Olive Branch, while Justin Neely scored 11 and Jamie Shipp hit for nine.