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franklin county times

Loaded with experience, 'Cats shoot for the top

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
November 2, 2004
A large crop of seniors and a lofty preseason ranking has the Meridian High School boys basketball team thinking big this year.
The Wildcats are ranked fourth in one preseason statewide poll, and they return a dozen seniors to a squad that won over 20 games last year.
Meridian High has dealt with disappointment since the premature end of its season last February.
Though the Wildcats posted a 23-7 regular-season mark, they were eliminated in the opening round of the District 4-5A playoffs.
In order to capture the elusive state title, Meridian High will depend on three seniors, who have been playing in the Wildcats' system for six years.
Center Cyrus McGowan, who has verbally committed to play for Arkansas next season, and guards Jocolby Davis and Chris Harris will be vital to Meridian High's success on the hardwood in 2004-05.
McGowan returns as the team's leading rebounder (277) and shot blocker (117), and he was second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points a game.
Davis was the Wildcats' leading scorer last year (17.5), and he led the team in steals with 53.
Harris will run the show on the court as the team's point guard. The senior, who also plays shortstop for Meridian High's baseball team, dished out a team-high 151 assists last season.
Seniors Maurice Naylor and Cornelius Miles will join McGowan, Harris and Davis in the staring line up
Naylor averaged 4.3 points a game and grabbed 105 rebounds last season, and Miles averaged 7.9 points and recorded a team second-best 148 rebounds.
As usual, the Wildcats will have a deep bench to utilize throughout the season.
Chris Leggett, Windham Campbell, Bryant Washington and Bruce Pope, along with others, are expected to be able to come off the bench and provide quality minutes for the Wildcats.
It is not just the number of quality players that Meridian High can put out on the floor that excites Watson, it is the experience the starting and reserve players have that will help the Wildcats.
Watson said he currently has 12 seniors and two juniors on the team, leaving room for only one sophomore to join this season's varsity squad.
2004-05 SCHEDULE: Nov. 11, at Livingston (Ala); Nov. 13, Clinton; Nov. 15, NE Jones tournament; Nov. 19, at Wayne County; No. 23, Lanier; Nov. 30, at Heidelberg; Dec. 2, Quitman tournament; Dec. 10, Wildcat Classic Tournament; Dec. 27, Arby's Classic-Bristol, Tenn.; Jan. 4, Hattiesburg; Jan. 7, NW Rankin; Dec. 11, at Madison Central; Jan. 14, at Murrah; Jan. 18, Noxubee County; Jan. 21, at NW Rankin; Jan. 29, at Tupelo; Feb. 1, NE Jones; Feb. 4, Brandon; Feb. 8,. Wayne County, Feb. 11, at Provine
KEY PLAYERS: Cyrus McGowan, Jocolby Davis, Chris Harris, Maurice Naylor, Cornelius Miles, Chris Leggett, Windham Campbell, Bryant Washington and Bruce Pope

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