Meridian Star

March 2, 2014

Close call

Lady Wildcats fall short of 6A South State title

By Michael Kerekes / The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — BRANDON — What started with a bang ended with a whimper for the Meridian High School girls basketball team Friday.

The Lady Wildcats roared out to a 27-15 lead in the first half of the Class 6A South State title game against Harrison Central High School Saturday night at Brandon High School.

But the Meridian offense sputtered in the second half, allowing Harrison Central to tie the game 45-45 at the end of regulation and send it into overtime.

    And the Lady Red Rebels outscored Meridian 18-10 in the extra period to take a 63-55.

    Meridian (25-6) committed three turnovers early in the overtime period that allowed Harrison Central to take control, 54-48, in the first three minutes of the four-minute overtime period. Meridian was never able to close the gap after that.

    “We came out and we were actually scoring in the first half,” Meridian head coach Patricia Wilson said. “We went in a slump, and they really put pressure on my guards to make a play, and we didn’t do that tonight. When my guards can make a play and open things up on the inside, then we do well. When they don’t do that, we struggle, because they pack it in.”

    Despite going into overtime, Meridian was never in the bonus at any point in the second half, while Harrison Central was in the bonus midway through the fourth quarter.

Meridian was whistled for 16 fouls compared to Harrison Central’s four.

    “It’s been happening all year, but just because I’ve got an explosive big girl inside, the referees tend to let them bang and push her around and let some things go,” Wilson said. “And that’s fine, we’re ready for that, but just don’t call those little nit-picky things at the other end either.”

    Miracle Dubose put up 12 points for Meridian before fouling out. Tyquisha Naylor chipped in with 11 points, and Kayla Gordon tallied 10 points.

    For Harrison Central, Shaneice Cooper had 21 points, and Jazzmun Holmes scored 18 points. Keyshauna Johnson added 10 points.

    Meridian will play Horn Lake on Wednesday, March 12 in the Class 6A state tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackon at 6:30 p.m.