Depth pays off for Wildcats
Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
JUMP AROUND Meridian's Stephanie Mosley puts up a jumper against Noxubee County.
By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
November 4, 2001
Depth paid off big for the Meridian Wildcats in the season opener here at the Wildcat Gym on Saturday night.
Eleven different Wildcats scored in the 70-48 romp past Noxubee County. Meridian, now embark on a month-long road trip which will include a tournament at Quitman and six other road games.
Wildcat Head Coach Ernie Watson says that an 11-man rotation will be a big part of his team's success this season.
Meridian opened the contest on fire scoring the game's first 13 points. Wing Fred Cole bombed in three, three-pointers to fuel the run.
Noxubee eventually got going and played Meridian on even turns for the remaining four minutes of the quarter to trail 26-12.
The Wildcats hit a scoring wall for much of the second quarter following a dunk by Jamaine Winfield. They went nearly four minutes without points until two free throws by Daniel Ramsey. The Tigers were able to cut the lead down to eight at 30-22 by halftime.
Noxubee would cut the lead down to three on two occassions, the last at 37-34 following a three-point play by Patrick Thomas.
The Wildcats recovered with a six-point spurt to go up 43-34. It was 45-39 when the Wildcats' pressure began to take a toll.
Quick steals and baskets by Ricky McMillan and Mark Walker helped cap the final six points of the quarter. Meridian led 51-39 after three.
A three-pointer by Ramsey handed the Wildcats a 56-39 advantage. Noxubee got the deficit back to 13 but another Meridian surge finished the deal.
A key play was Theo Naylor's dunk off a missed free throw that put Meridian up 64-45.
Cole finished with 15 points to lead the Wildcats. Dunn had 11, Winfield 10 and Naylor had eight.
Watson said the team's first game anxiety helped cause the dryspell in the second quarter.
Noxubee was led by Thomas with 11 points and Cyrus McGalvin had eight.
Noxubee County girls 62
Turnover prone Meridian couldn't handle a well-balanced attack from Noxubee County and fell in its home opener on Saturday, 62-51.
The loss drops Meridian, the 5A finalist from last year, to 0-2. Noxubee County improves to 1-1.
Noxubee County Head Coach A.E. Williams said a defensive change helped out his club.
Hariston had a game high 31 points. She made 12 field goals and was seven of nine from the line. But other than for Stephanie Mosley, there was little other offense for the Lady Wildcats.
Meridian's last lead came at 18-17 following a basket by Hariston. Noxubee went back ahead and kept the lead for good. It was 22-19 at the half.
In the third quarter, Jessica Mason, Latonya Williams and Jennifer Porter combined for 20 points to extend the Lady Tiger lead to 45-37.
Meridian got it down to four at 45-41 following a basket by Megan Mendiola but could not come any closer.
A basket by Williams and a three-pointer by Shawnequa Rucker sealed the contest for Noxubee County.
Williams ended with 17 points. Mason had 13 followed by Porter with 10. Chaffee Spann added eight.
Mosley chipped in 13 for Meridian.