Meridian Wildcats nip QHS at buzzer
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 17, 2002
Quitman appeared on its way toward stealing away a win here at the Meridian Physical Education Building Saturday night.
But Meridian High's Jason Windom had other ideas. Windom drained an 18-footer at the buzzer to deliver the Wildcats from the brink of agony to a thrilling victory, 66-65 over the Quitman Panthers.
In girls action, the Meridian Lady Wildcats took a 48-40 win over Quitman.
Wildcats head coach Ernie Watson while glad to see Windom's shot go in for the game-winner, he was not very happy about his team's play in the fourth quarter.
But the most disturbing thing was how the Wildcats gave Quitman its only lead of the game since early in the first quarter.
Meridian was up one, 64-63, with the ball with under 25 seconds to play.
It was picked off perfectly by Quitman's Roderick Laphand. Laphand had a quick coast to the basket for the layup and a 65-64 lead with seven seconds left.
Instead, Meridian found its self in dire straits. Watson declined a time out and had the Wildcats push the ball upcourt.
Windom let go an off-balanced shot that ripped through the nets for the win.
Windom ended with 18 points. Theo Naylor and Daniel Ramsey each had 10 points. Chris Harris and Cyrus McGowan had six each.
The first half was a foul-plagued affair. The two sides were whistled for 36 fouls. The Wildcats managed to come out with a 45-40 lead thanks to 90-percent (18-of-20) foul shooting. Quitman was 15-of-24 from the line in the first half.
The tempo slowed in the third quarter with Meridian dropping back into a half-court man. Quitman tied it at 45-45 but then fell behind seven at 52-45. It was 54-50 after three quarters.
A steal and layup by Meridian's Harris made it 57-50. Quitman, though, hung around getting a three-pointer by Lonnie Magee to make it 59-55.
It was 63-61 with 49 seconds left when Meridian's E. J. Watson made one of two free throws for a 64-61 lead. Quitman came right back getting a putback by Prince Trotter to cut the lead to 64-63 with 31.1 seconds left.
Quitman, 3-2, was led by Jonathan McCarty's 13 points. Laphand and McGee each had 11 and Trotter had nine.
Meridian girls 48
Quitman girls 40
The Lady Wildcats struggled offensively for much of the first three quarters. But they found the right gear in the fourth quarter and were able to turn back an improved Quitman girls club 48-40.
Meridian improves to 2-1 with the win. Quitman slips to 3-2.
Meridian head coach Donald Shirley was particularly pleased with the final half which saw Meridian snap a 30-30 tie with a decisive 10-point run.
Quitman led 14-12 after one quarter and 20-18 at the half. Meridian had just six field goals and was a poor 4-of-12 from the line.
The Lady Cats' top scorer in Valencia Hairston finally got going in the second half. She scored seven in the third quarter to help Meridian grab a 30-28 lead by quarter's end.
Quitman tied it at 30-30 following a basket by Shaquilla Mack a minute into the fourth quarter.
Meridian answered with the next 10 points. Hairston made three shots including a three-pointer while Courtney Wade made a key three-point play to put Meridian up 40-30 with 5:40 to play. Quitman was unable to mount another challenge.
Hairston finished with a game high 26 points. Wade had 11 and Alexis Clemons chipped in eight.
Quitman was led by Mashana Bonner with 13 points. Mack had eight.