Meridian Star


March 7, 2014

Thunder win by a hair

MERIDIAN— Javion Yarbrough’s free throw in the final minute proved to be the difference as the Thunder slipped past the Suns, 17-16, in a thrilling contest to claim the U8 city basketball championship Thursday at Northwest Middle School.

“This is very exciting,” Thunder coach James Harbour said. “I think that I am more excited than the kids.”  

The game began with both teams clicking offensively.

Yarbrough poured in six of his game-high 11 points in the first quarter, but the Suns would battle the Thunder to an 8-8 tie at the end of the first.

In the second period, the two squads clamped down defensively and headed to intermission knotted, 10-10.

The Thunder opened the second half by scoring the first four points when Billy Van Veckhoven converted a layup and Jorden Harbour chipped in with a put back.

The Suns clawed back led by Peryn Bland who tied the game, 14-14, with a jumper from the right wing just before the horn to signal the end of the third period.

Bland, who scored a team-high nine points, opened the fourth with a running jump shot. Yet Yarbrough answered with a basket of his own on the ensuing possession.

With the Thunder clinging to a one point advantage, the Suns had one more chance to win with 6-seconds remaining, but Bland’s jump shot fell short.

“The kids played a great game,” Suns coach and Meridian Mayor Percy Bland said. “The other team made more plays than we did. I’m proud of my team. We had a great season.”

For the Thunder, Harbour scored four points, and Van Veckhaven poured in two. Christian Jones scored four points, and Drew Willis contributed with three for the Suns.

“It was a tough game,” Van Veckhaven said. “They beat us in the regular season by one point, but we came back and got our revenge in the championship.

“We’re taking home the trophy.”

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