Hattiesburg bites young MHS
BIG REACH Meridian's Jason Windom tries to steal the inbound from Hattiesburg's Marcus Spann. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
Jan. 8, 2003
Youth continues to hinder the Meridian High Wildcats on the hardwood. And playing teams like Hattiesburg, who is currently ranked 5th in Mississippi, has left Coach Ernie Watson's team searching for answers.
Watson is still searching. Hattiesburg handed Meridian another tough home loss with a 79-69 decision on Tuesday night at the Meridian High Physical Education Building.
The match-up of the former Big Eight Conference foes was the first since last March when the two teams squared off in the quarterfinals of the 5A Boys State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Hattiesburg lost only one player off its state tourney team. Meridian lost seven of its top 10. It showed Tuesday.
One of those seven didn't even dress because of a broken team rule.
Eight points in the second quarter by USM signee Jason Windom had Meridian within three points at the break , 38-35. Hattiesburg got its lead behind 16 first-half points from top 5A prospect James Hollingsworth.
In the third quarter, the Tigers went inside to Alton Robinson and Jay Lee. Robinson scored eight of his 14 points in the period to open up a 53-44 advantage.
Two baskets by Cornelius Miles kept Meridian in it by the third quarter horn down just eight at 59-51.
Hattiesburg, though, opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to go up 67-53. Meridian could not recover. The Tigers made sure of that by making 11-of-13 free throws in the final quarter.
Jason Simmons made 8-of-10 from the line including 6-of-7 in the fourth quarter to finish with 23 points. Hollingsworth ended with 19 and Alton Robinson chipped in 14.
Hattiesburg, 18-2, made 13-of-25 from the line.
Meridian, now 8-7, received 17 from Windom and 16 from Jacoby Davis. Theo Naylor added eight and Miles had seven.
Meridian girls 62
Meridian had five players contribute to a big second quarter to pace the 15th ranked Lady Wildcats past Hattiesburg 62-48 on Tuesday night.
Meridian improves to 12-2 with the win. Hattiesburg falls to 12-7.
Down 11-10 after one quarter, Meridian outscored Hattiesburg 24-13 in the second quarter to go up 34-24 at the half. Five Meridian players scored in the stanza.
Megan Mendiola and Brittany Davidson both hit three-pointers while Valencia Hairston had six points.
Meridian scored 12 more points in the third quarter extending its lead to 46-29. Hairston finished off things scoring 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Alexis Clemons added 15 points and Courtney Wade chipped in 14. Mendiola had seven followed by Shannon Lloyd with six.
Hattiesburg was led by Yolanda Hartfield with 16 followed by Brittany Blackston and Felicia Gray with 11 each.