The Meridian Star
Thursday night, the Meridian girls basketball team saw its season slipping away, trailing Oak Grove in the fourth quarter of the Region 5-6A semifinal. After Friday night’s 48-38 win against Hattiesburg at Petal High School, the Wildcats now sit atop Region 5-6A as district champions.
“It wasn’t just the tournament, it’s been like this the whole season,” Meridian head coach Patricia Wilson said. “Our district is so loaded, we all beat each other. Oak Grove was a great team that could have easily been here too. It’s like that every year in this division, you are always going to have great teams.”
The ’Cats have grown accustomed to big nights from post players Kayla Gordon and Miracle Dubose. Friday was no different, as both scored 14 points to lead Meridian. Gordon also tallied 10 rebounds on the night and was named MVP of the Region 5-6A tournament.
“Nobody can stop us,” Gordon said of her and Dubose. “I’m peanut butter and she’s jelly, that’s just how we do it.”
Gordon missed last year’s district tournament with a torn ACL and said she was hungry to contribute to the Wildcats success.
“I just wanted to come out and do everything possible to help my team, and that’s what I did,” Gordon said. “It was very big, after last year I was just going to do what I needed to do.”
The key difference for Meridian in the win was the Wildcats’ ability to hit free throws. Meridian went 10 of 11 from the line on the night, while Hattiesburg only hit two of 10 free-throw attempts on the night.
“Ever since the second half of the season, we have tried to get better with our free-throw shooting,” Wilson said. “We were down to a point where we were shooting around 50 percent and we have been getting better.”
While winning the district and securing a host game is important to Wilson, the head coach also said the experience of getting to play some of the state’s best teams will benefit her team later on in the playoffs.
“The competition is key,” Wilson said. “It’s the completion that will prepare us.”