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Division 2-5A full of top boys basketball squads

By Staff
From Staff Reports
Dec. 19, 2001
Looking at the latest prep high school rankings, according to The Clarion-Ledger, Meridian's Division 2-5A is one tough league.
Coach Ernie Watson's Wildcats are 9-4 on the season after going 2-1 in the Frazier-Yarbrough. They are also the only unranked team from the four-team division.
The Columbus Falcons, 13-1, is ranked No. 1. Starkville (12-2) is ranked third while Tupelo (9-4) is ranked 12th. Meridian already owns an 81-66 win over Tupelo.
Columbus and Starkville are set to visit the Wildcat Gym in early 2002. The Falcons soar down for a Jan. 11 date while the Yellow Jackets visit on Jan. 15.
Two of the Wildcat losses have come against two other top 10 teams. They include Jackson Lanier at No. 7 and Wayne County at No. 8.
Heidelberg, which has beaten the Wildcats twice, is unranked.
Next up for the Wildcats is this week's Cameron State Bank Classic in Lake Charles, La.
Jeff Byrd
Lady Wildcats ranked No. 15 in poll
On the girls side, coach Donald Shirley's Lady Wildcats are ranked at No. 15 in the Clarion-Ledger poll. Meridian is 9-5 on the season going into the Christmas Break.
They will not play again until the Hattiesburg Invitational right after New Year's.
Tupelo, who two weeks ago beat Meridian 72-42, is unbeaten at 14-0 and ranked second. Tupelo is the defending 5A State Champions having beaten Meridian in the 2001 finals.
Jackson Murrah (12-1) is the top ranked team in the poll.
The three other teams who have beaten the Lady Wildcats this season are all ranked. Wayne County (12-1) is fourth, Noxubee County (16-1) is sixth and Hancock (8-4) is eighth.
Noxubee County won the Frazier-Yarbrough Tournament which included wins over Heidelberg, Quitman and Meridian. The Meridian win was the Lady Tigers second straight over the Lady Wildcats in their own gym.
West Lauderdale, which was ranked eighth in the preseason poll, is unranked. Choctaw Central, 13-1, is also unranked.
Jeff Byrd
Newton in People's Bank Showdown
The Newton High School boys are one of six team's taking part in the People's Bank Showdown in Mendenhall on Friday and Saturday.
Newton High takes on host Mendenhall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Lawrence County at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Other boys teams taking part in the classic-type event are Magee, Terry and Jackson Wingfield.
The games are set for 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each day.
Austin Bishop
Hawkins back at Bayou after close call
Bayou Academy boys' and girls' basketball coach Wade Hawkins returned to the court last week for the first time since Nov. 19.
On Nov. 24, a tornado destroyed his home and seriously injured his eight-year-old son, Alex, who is still hospitalized in Jackson.
Wade Hawkins is confined to a wheelchair after suffering cut tendons in his right foot.
– Marty Stamper
Noxubee only area team in Columbus
Seventeen girls basketball teams are taking part in the Columbus Christmas Classic on Thursday through Saturday, but Noxubee County is the only team from East Mississippi taking part in the event.
The Tigerettes take on Carver (La.) High School at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and St. Mary's (La.) High School at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Austin Bishop