Meridian takes pair of division games from Brandon

By By Richard Dark
JAN. 13, 2001
At halftime of Meridian High's tilt with the Brandon Bulldogs, Wildcat head coach Ernie Watson talked about taking care of the basketball.
Clinging to a nine-point lead with one of its best inside players saddled with four fouls, that's exactly what MHS did in the second half en route to an 81-60 whitewashing.
Sophomore forward Jason Windom stepped up in place of Jeremy Ruffin, who early in the second quarter, was whistled for two quick fouls and once on the bench, a technical which drew the ire of Watson.
In his absence, Windom managed 13 points to help the Cats (17-5, 1-1 in 5-5A) hold off the Bulldogs (2-15).
Tony Dunn pumped in 19 points and collected five rebounds. Ruffin had nine points and five steals. Tony McGraw came off the bench and scored eight.
For Brandon, it was big Richard Burch, who used his size inside to put in 24. Bryant May added 13.
Burch's layup tied the game at 49 with 1:55 to go in the third, but Brandon could get no closer, as the Cats responded with quickness and pressure defense to embark on a 13-2 run that bridged the final two quarters. The burst was capped by an emphatic slam dunk from Ruffin that signaled the end.
The Cats outscored Brandon 17-9 the rest of the way. Jamaine Winfield also had 13 points. Guard Otis Bumpers dished out 10 assists, and as a team, Meridian stole the ball 20 times.
Meridian girls 70, Brandon 39: The Lady Cats never trailed and led by as many as 34 in the lopsided 5-5A contest.
Donald Shirley's troops used a tough full-court trap to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from effectively inbounding the basketball and they parlayed it into easy buckets after inbounding steals.
He certainly got his wish, as MHS improved to 20-2 and 2-0 in the division by jumping out to a 40-15 halftime lead. Again,it was balanced scoring that told the tale.
Cantea Brown paced the attack with 13, while Cassandra Harris added 11, with a trio of 3-pointers. Kanecia Williams and Stephanie Mosley each collected nine. Chelse Alford nailed a pair of treys on the way to a 10-point night.
Brandon (11-9, 2-2 in 5-5A) got 15 points inside from Suzanne McKinley. Her runner in the lane pulled the Lady Bulldogs to within 46-26 with 2:22 to play in the third. It was as close as the visitors would get.
Latisha Jones came off the bench to score six for the Lady Cats.
Meridian travels to Northwest Rankin Tuesday.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com

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