Meridian Star

March 1, 2014

Meridian boys struggle late, lose to Gulfport; girls advance to South State title game

By Michael Kerekes \ The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star

— MERIDIAN — After a strong three quarters, the Meridian High School boys basketball team saw its season end with a rough fourth quarter as the Wildcats fell to Gulfport High School, 57-55, in the Class 6A South State semifinals Friday.

A last-second shot by the Wildcats fell short, ending Meridian’s season with a 23-7 record. Head coach Randy Bolden said he felt before the game that the score would be close late.

“I think both teams played hard,” Bolden said. “We knew coming in it would come down to a last-second shot. It just came up a little short in the end.”

After leading 29-26 at the half and 45-39 at the end of the third, Meridian scored just nine points in the final period while Gulfport scored 16.

“I thought we got a little impatient in the fourth quarter,” Bolden said. “We had a few unforced turnovers and a few layups that didn’t go in. It was just one of those nights in the fourth. I don’t think we executed as well as we needed to down the stretch.”

B.J. Miller led Meridian with 17 points, and Joel Baskin and Jontavius Thomas each pitched in with 15 points.

“I think my guys did a tremendous job this year,” Bolden said. “I’m really proud of them. They ended up being one of the top teams in the state, and that speaks to how hard they worked during the season.”

Meridian girls 59, Hattiesburg 46

CLINTON — The Lady Wildcats punched their ticket to the Class 6A South State championship game with a win against Hattiesburg High School Friday.

Miracle Dubose led Meridian with 17 points, and Chrystianna Bakken finished with 14 points. Kayla Gordon had 13 points for Meridian, which led 27-22 at intermission.

“We had a great first quarter and had several kids contribute, not just our key players,” Meridian head coach Patricia Wilson said. “We did a great job defensively.”

The Lady Wildcats will face Harrison Central High School at 7 p.m. today in Brandon, and Wilson said they’re expecting a small, aggressive team that shoots well from the perimeter out of the Lady Red Rebels.

“I think if we stay with our strong points and continue to feed the ball inside and handle the ball in the back court, we should be OK,” Wilson said.

Meridian improved to 25-5 on the year.