Meridian Star

Sports

December 18, 2013

Wildcats upset No. 1 Callaway

MERIDIAN —     Trailing Callaway by seven points at halftime, Meridian boys basketball head coach Randy Bolden challenged his team to pull together and turn the game around.

    Seniors Devonte Brewster and Jontavious Thomas did just that, combining for 36 second-half points to help Meridian upset the top-ranked Chargers, 64-54, Tuesday night at home.

    “We felt like if we plugged 16 minutes into that second half the way we thought we could, we had a chance to win the ballgame late in the fourth quarter,” Bolden said.

    Down 38-33 midway through the third quarter, Meridian capitalized on back-to-back three pointers as J'Vaugnte Harris cut the lead to two before a three from Anthony Sims gave Meridian a 39-38 lead. Meridian took a 41-38 lead into the third quarter.

    Callaway (9-1) pressed Meridian (10-2) hard in the fourth quarter, but once again Brewster and Thomas answered the call. The seniors combined for 21 of Meridian’s 23 fourth-quarter points. Brewster finished the game with 21 points and six assists, while Thomas also had 21 points to go with 14 rebounds and five blocks. B.J. Miller was in double digits as well for Meridian with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists on the game.

    “Brewster, Jontavious, B.J., I think those guys just stepped up,” Bolden said. “They made plays, not only offensively but defensively as well.”

    Bolden said his team spent extra time in the gym working on free throws this week. The preparation payed off, as Meridian shot 11-for-13 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to put away Callaway and snap a 23-game winning streak for the Chargers.

    Five-star forward Malik Newman got Callaway off to a hot start by knocking down threes on the Chargers’ first two possessions. The No. 1 player in the nation according to Rivals and ESPN, Newman scored 21 points. Mario Kegler was also in double digits for the Chargers with 15 points.

    Meridian will face No. 2 Gulfport at home on Saturday.

    “That’s the way we are built,” Bolden said. “We expect to win, and practice to be able to compete against anybody in the state. We know we have another big challenge on Saturday, so we will be back in the gym getting ready.”

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