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Cougars defend Alabama pride by clawing Wildcats

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 24, 2002
The wide open spaces and playing in front a big crowd proved to be much to the liking of the visiting Livingston High School Cougars.
The reigning Southwest Alabama 4A Regional Champions and eventual 4A runner-up stunned the Meridian High faithful by drop-kicking the Wildcats 86-66 here at the Meridian Physical Education Building Saturday night.
Livingston played like they have intentions of going back to Birmingham and playing at the 4A Final Four at the Birmingham/Jefferson Convention Center. Meridian, a Class 5A semifinalist last year in Mississippi, will need to find its rebounding and defense before they can think of a similar run this year.
The loss was the most one-sided defeat for an Ernie Watson led Wildcat team in a long time. Heidelberg, the 3A State runner-up and a 30-win Wayne County team, didn't beat Meridian this badly at home last season.
The Cougars did because it jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Watson was left wondering where was the team that started the year 3-0.
Livingston head coach Ken Threadgill was extremely pleased with his team's play. The Cougars improved to 5-1 on the season with the lone loss coming to 6A Tuscaloosa Hillcrest.
The Cougars played up to the moment expanding the 11-1 lead into a 27-13 spread by quarter's end.
Crumpton, an Alabama Super Six Senior, showed why nailing two soft jumpers to go with a left-handed three-pointer and two free throws in the opening quarter. Bedlim chipped in eight points and Kendal Bowden had six for the Cougars in the first quarter.
Meridian's top player in USM signee Jason Windom kept the Wildcats from getting embarrassed in the first half. Windom nailed three long-range three-pointers to keep the Wildcats within 14 of the Cougars. It was 49-34 at the half.
Windom had two crowd-pleasing dunks in the third quarter but that was about the only resistance Meridian could muster. Crumpton and Bedlim continued their onslaught.
Crumpton fired in a pair of three-pointers while Bedlim had seven in the third as Livingston roared out to a 24-point lead. It was 70-48 after three quarters.
Meridian girls 55
Livingston 31
The Meridian High Lady Wildcats had a pretty easy time of things in Saturday's opener beating Livingston 55-31.
Meridian, 4-1, cruised out to a 16-4 lead in the first period behind five points from Brittany Davidson and four from Valencia Hairston. Megan Mendiola made all three foul shots following a Lady Cougar foul on her three-point attempt.
It was 27-12 at the half.
Livingston attempted to stall in the second half but a steal and layup by Hairston put an end to those plans.
Courtney Wade scored eight of her 14 points in the third quarter to lead Meridian. Hairston finished with 13 and Mendiola had seven.
Livingston was led by Tekisha Harris with 13 points.