MHS headed to the Big House

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Feb. 24, 2001
For the seventh year in a row, the Meridian High School Lady Wildcats are headed for Jackson and the Class 5A Girls State Tournament.
The Lady Wildcats put on a dazzling display of passing and being at the right place at the right time as they defeated Provine 60-42 Friday night in the semifinals of the South State 5A Tournament being held at Meridian's gym.
Meridian, which plays Moss Point tonight at 8 p.m. for the South State 5A championship, assured itself of at least the second seed out of the south with the win over Provine. Meridian ups its record to 30-4 while Provine drops to 26-7.
"It's a big win it got us to Jackson," said Meridian coach Donald Shirley. "This is a good time to be playing well, and we played very well tonight.
"I don't know how many assists we had as a team but it was a ton. We passed the ball around well and played as unselfish a game as could be played."
Provine hasn't beaten Meridian this season, but has played the Lady Cats tough. It looked like that was going to be the case this time when the Lady Rams went up 7-4 with 6:20 left in the first quarter.
But then Meridian took over. Provine would score one more point in the period while Meridian ran off 14 to go up 18-8 at the end of the period.
The second quarter was more of the same. Again and again, Meridian threaded the ball through the Provine defense for a clean shot at the basket. The Lady Cats kept Provine scoreless during the first 3:38 of the period and outpointed the Rams 18-8 in the period to go up 32-14 at the intermission.
Meridian's Cantea Brown scored six of the Lady Cats' first 10 points of the third quarter as they increased their advantage to 42-17 at 4:34 mark. But Provine didn't throw in the towel as it outpointed MHS 12-6 in the time remaining to trail 48-29 heading into the final quarter.
Meridian kept the Lady Rams at bay throughout the fourth, freezing the ball at every opportunity.
Kaecia Williams led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points, while Brown added 16 and Chandra Collier tallied 10. Toshia Christmas scored 19 to lead Provine
Moss Point led 32-30 at the half, and held a 48-44 advantage at the start of the final stanza. That's when Moss Point took over as it outscored Hattiesburg 19-8 in the last eight minutes of play.
Monique Cowan led Moss Point with 30 points while Bran Dee Fry scored 13. Yolanda Hatfield's 17 points led Hattiesburg.
The action continues tonight starting at 6:30 p.m when Hattiesburg takes on Provine. The winner of this game will advance to the state tournament as the third place team out of the south, while the loser goes home. Moss Point and Meridian play at 8 p.m. for the South State championship.