Wildcats close out Frazier-Yarbrough with a win
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 16, 2001
It's going to be quite a while before Meridian High School fans see the Wildcats play in the MHS gymnasium again.
Saturday night, the Cats made their final home appearance in 2001 a successful one.
Meridian overcame a shaky start and got 18 points from Tony Dunn to knock off Noxubee County 65-50 in final-night action of the Frazier-Yarbrough Memorial Tournament.
The Wildcats, who won two-of-three contests, finished second in the round-robin event.
Heidelberg, which had already wrapped up the 2001 FYM title, made it a clean sweep earlier Saturday afternoon with a 60-51 victory over Quitman.
MHS boys 65
Meridian High pounded Noxubee County earlier this season while the Tigers were missing two starters in the football playoffs, and head coach Ernie Watson knew his squad would get a stiffer test this time around.
Noxubee followed through early, leading by as many as eight points in the early going before settling for a 15-9 edge at the end of the first quarter. But Meridian kept bearing down defensively, outscoring the Tigers 22-11 in the second quarter to take a 31-26 lead that they would not surrender.
The Tigers had enough for one last run after Meridian pushed its lead to double digits. After Noxubee's Omar Conner made a nifty dribble and bombed an NBA-range 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, the Tigers were within 43-39.
But Meridian went on a 10-3 run to open the fourth quarter and put Noxubee away. Josh Walker had a 3-pointer during the run and Jamaine Winfield hit the first 3-pointer of his career after Noxubee blew a layup, and the Wildcats were up 53-42.
A thunderous putback slam dunk by Theo Naylor with 3:54 left put Meridian up 59-44 and removed all doubt.
In addition to Dunn's 18 points, Meridian got 10 points from Fred Cole, nine from Ricky McMillian, eight from Walker and seven from Winfield who had a team-best six rebounds.
Noxubee was led by Delvin Young's game-high 22 points. Obryant Brandy scored nine points to go with seven rebounds and five assists, Randy Cameron scored seven points, Conner had five assists and four steals and Patrick Thomas had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Meridian's boys now hit the road the next two weeks, going to the Cameron State Bank Basketball Invitational in Lake Charles, La., from Dec. 20-22 before heading to the 2001 Showdown Tournament in Poplar Bluff, Mo., from Dec. 27-29.
In Lake Charles, the Wildcats received a bye and will play Friday at 9:30 a.m. against either Westgate or Ft. Bend Baptist at Barbe (La.) High School.
Quitman boys 51
The Oilers completed a three-game sweep and finished off their FYM Tournament championship with a hard-fought win over Quitman.
It was also the third win for Heidelberg in as many days over a larger opponent. The Class 3A Oilers, who improved to 10-3 with the win, have lost only to Class 5As Wayne County and Hattiesburg.
Saturday afternoon, coach Ted Williams' squad built an eight-point advantage in the first half and held on for dear life afterward.
Tournament-MVP Derrick Turner scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Oilers, who got 16 points from Fred Stephens. Billy Wright and Marvin McDonald each scored eight points.
Sidney King and Lorenzo White led a balanced attack for Quitman with 10 points apiece, while Jermel Thigpen scored nine and Marcus McCormick and Jonathan McCarty scored six apiece.