Meridian Star

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February 26, 2014

Miller, Meridian blow past Jim Hill

MERIDIAN —     Meridian High School's B.J. Miller did what he did best: Attack the basket.

    And Jim Hill High School had no answer for Miller, who exploded Tuesday night for 34 points as the Wildcats ran past the Tigers in a 79-57 victory in the seeding round of the Class 6A South State playoffs.

    "I was just attacking and doing what my team needed me to do, and that's when we're at our strongest point, when I'm attacking and getting everyone involved and making plays," Miller said.

    The Wildcats jumped out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter, with Miller accounting for six of those points. But it was a pair of 3-pointers by Meridian's Joel Baskin that seemed to set the tone early for the Wildcats.

    Baskin would go on to finish with 21 points, sinking five baskets from beyond the arc, and Miller said it was nice having Baskin on his side Tuesday night.

    "When he's getting them from downtown, it takes a ton of pressure off us and the whole team, because Joel is just a hand-down guy," Miller said. "He can shoot the 3 very well — I think he's a 45-percent 3-point shooter."

    Meridian took a 35-24 lead into the break, and head coach Randy Bolden said his team's strong start helped set the tone for the rest of the game.

    "I think our guys came out with a lot of defensive intensity tonight," Bolden said. "they set the tone early, and we forced some turnovers and got a chance to get in transition and get some easy baskets, and I think that kind of set the tone early in the first half."

    Bolden also said Miller and Baskin's performances proved critical to his team's success.

    "I think B.J. did a tremendous job tonight of getting the ball to the basket," Bolden said. "He's been finishing at the rim for us all year long. Joel just does what he does — he's a great perimeter shooter. He shot the ball very well, and our point guard, Je'Vaughnte Harris, he did a great job setting the tables and getting them easy shots, and I think that's what got us going early on."

    The Wildcats began to pull away early in the third quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points midway through the period and taking a 55-35 lead after three.

    The game marked Bolden's return after being placed on administrative leave by the school last week. The school said in a statement Bolden was placed on leave following "an incident... between (Bolden) and a parent." Bolden declined to discuss his leave but said he was glad to return to coaching his team.

    "I'm happy to be coaching," Bolden said.

    And Miller said he was happy to have his head coach back.

"It was a real difference," Miller said. "When we had Coach (Tony Tadlock), we used the same strategy and played with the same effort, so nothing changed, but it's a different atmosphere when Coach Bolden is there. We bring the pain, but he helps us control the game."

    Meridian (23-6) will play again at 6 p.m. Friday.

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