Wildcats top No. 6 Columbus
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Jan. 31, 2001
With his team holding a one-point lead at halftime, Meridian High head coach Ernie Watson was visibly concerned.
In the second half, the Cats put a stop to that, winning a tight battle by hitting just enough free throws down the stretch for the 50-46 upset.
Perhaps none bigger than Jamaine Winfield's board with 37.3 seconds left in regulation.
With the score knotted at 46 and Turnage Gym coming unglued, Falcon swingman Anthony Johnson launched a long 3-pointer that drew iron and Winfield came down with the basketball and a Falcon on his back.
He then stepped to the line and sank a pair of free throws to give MHS (21-6) the lead.
After Meridian point guard Otis Bumpers was whistled for a foul, Jarvis Williams had the opportunity to tie the game again, but missed the front end of the one-and-one.
After a timeout, Quadrick Griffin, who finished with eight points, made 1-of-2 to give his team a 49-46 lead with 9.6 seconds to play.
But the Falcons (20-6) had already hit their fair share of treys and Watson answered by loading upk on perimeter coverage. With 4.9 ticks remaining, CHS was whistled for a five-second violation for failing to inbound the ball.
The call sent the Falcons' bench and the large Columbus contingent into a furious frenzy. But Bumpers sank 1-of-2 free throws, his only point of the game. Michael Davis finished 12 points for the Cats who host Northwest Rankin Friday.
D. D. Weatherly led Columbus with 15 points. Jeremy Ruffin had 10 points and nine of his team's 28 rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter after taking a hard lick on the head. In his absence, sophomore Ricky McMillian scored eight fourth quarter points.
Watson was pleased with the upset win. "If we keep beating ranked teams, they might throw us the key and we might just walk in the door."
Meridian girls 55, Columbus 45: The Lady Cats showed their mettle by jumping out to an early lead and holding off a scrappy Lady Falcon squad.
Another issue of contention was Cantea Brown's foul tally. The Lady Cat senior post player, who wore No. 22 in the second half, was officially listed as having only four for the game, but the CHS coaching staff had her fouling out early in the fourth quarter and in coach Scott Tallent's mind she collected seven.
Brown said she didn't know how many fouls she had, but she wouldn't have been surprised if it was five.
She scored eight of her 13 in the first quarter and Kanecia Williams had seven of her 16 points and nine boards in the initial frame, as MHS took the early 17-5 lead.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.