By Brandon Walker

assistant sports editor

It was a great night for Bay Springs basketball.

And in turn, it happened to be a pretty good night for the Meridian Community College Eagles.

Hosting South Division foe Southwest Thursday night, Meridian utilized knockout performances from a pair of Bay Springs standouts to earn a much-needed sweep.

For the Eagles, sophomore sharp-shooter — and former Bay Springs Bulldog — Regis Huddleston scored a season-high 32 points o help Meridian turn a two-point halftime lead into a 16-point rout of visiting Southwest.

In the opener, former Bay Springs Lady Bulldogs' star NaDosha Strickland was just as good, scoring a game-high 28 points to help the Lady Eagles forge into a tie for second-place in South Division play with a 76-70 win over a pesky Southwest squad.

Meridian men 83

Southwest 67

In a game that was nip-and-tuck for the first 20 minutes, Huddleston scored 22 of his 32 in the second half while forward Mario Luckett added 23 points of his own to help the Eagles down the visiting Bears.

Huddleston keyed a pair of 10-0 runs in the second half that allowed Meridian to gain separation, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the half.

For his part, Luckett scored 15 of his 23 points after the break.

For Southwest, point guard Aubrey Coleman kept the game interesting with 28 points.

Meridian, which trailed 24-16 with 8 minutes remaining in the first half, erupted for a 12-0 run that was sparked by five straight points from Luckett. The burst was enough to give Meridian the halftime lead the Eagles never relinquished.

Forward Travis Thompson joined Luckett and Huddleston in double digits with 10 points while point guard Otis Williams added nine.

Meridian will return to action Monday night with a trip to Perkinston to take on Gulf Coast.

Meridian women 76

Southwest 70

In a crucial mid-season battle between division contenders, Meridian's Lady Eagles topped No. 23 Southwest to climb into a second-place tie with the Lady Bears.

With the win, Meridian improved to 14-3 overall and 4-2 in division action.

"There are no easy games in our division," remarked MCC head coach Hilary Allen. "Tonight was no different."

The Lady Eagles, who led 40-34 at halftime, were never able to pull away from the scrappy Lady Bears as the two teams fought to a 36-36 standstill in the second half.

For Meridian, Strickland's 28 led the way.

"She is a great player, a preseason All-America player," Allen said of Strickland, "but she hasn't had to play 35-40 minutes per game like she has lately. She has really been playing well and carrying us offensively lately."

In addition to Strickland, Monique Clayton added 13 and Jennifer Wair chipped in 12.

Up next for Meridian will be a trip to division-leading Gulf Coast Monday night.

"We are 4-2 and they are 5-1 in the division, so we know we are in for a battle," Allen added. "Down there, in that gym, they are tough to beat. Then again, there are no off nights in our division, so we just have to take them as they come."

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