Meridian Wildcats dominate tournament

By By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports director
December 14, 2003
The Meridian High School boys and girls both completed three-game sweeps on Saturday night to claim the championships in the Frazier-Yarbrough Invitational.
The Wildcats exploded for a big third quarter on the way to an 87-66 win in the boys game, while the MHS girls played one of their best games of the year on the way to a 65-41 win over Heidelberg.
Other action in the four-team round-robin event saw the Quitman boys beat Noxubee County 60-49 and the Noxubee County girls take a 65-56 triumph over the Lady Panthers of QHS.
Jocolby Davis, who was named MVP of the tournament, pumped in 25 points to lead the 13-3 Wildcats past the Oilers, while Cornelius Miles scored 10, Chris Harris nine and Cyrus McGowan and E.J. Hampton eight each.
Meridian led 17-10 after one quarter of play and seemed to be in control of the game until Heidelberg began to make a run midway in the second quarter.
The Oiler run was sparked by a thunderous slam dunk by Travis Stephens that cut the MHS lead to 25-22 with 3:33 left in the first half. After Meridian stretched it back out to 31-26, Stephens converted a three-point play and Jordan Payne drained a 23-footer to put HHS up 32-31 with 1:10 left in the second quarter.
The last minute of the second quarter became a free-throw shooting contest, with MHS making 5-of-7 and Heidelberg sinking only 1-of-4. The Wildcats led 38-33 at the half.
MHS led 50-45 with three minutes left in the third quarter, then outscored the Oilers 13-3 the rest of the way to take a 63-48 lead with just eight minutes to play.
Jordan Payne scored 22 to lead Heidelberg, while Travis Stephens had 12 and Andre Stephens 10.
Joining Davis on the All-Tournament team were off the MHS team were McGowan, Harris, and Hampton. Others honored were Payne, Travis Stephens and Andre Stephens of Heidelberg; Deon Bryant and Brandon Tate of Quitman; and Prince Trotter and Xavier Arrington of Quitman.
Meridian (girls) 65
Heidelberg 41
Three-out-of-four ain't bad.
At least that's the way MHS girls head coach Donald Shirley looks at it.
MHS led 17-7 after one quarter of play, only to have the Lady Oilers fight back to take a 21-19 lead on a basket by Princess Bender with 2:37 left in the first half.
The Lady Wildcats, who have now won eight straight games, scored the next nine points to go up 28-21.
MHS led 28-23 at the half, only to have the Lady Oilers regain the lead at 32-30 with 5:23 left in the third quarter. That would be the last time Heidelberg would score for three-and-half minutes as the Lady Wildcats ripped off 13 unanswered points to go up 43-32 on a basket by Amber Walker with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
Freshman forward Whitney Hood made her presence known during that run, knocking down three consecutive baskets. One was on a nice baseline drive, followed by an 18-foot jumper and then a layup when she picked up a loose ball in the lane.
Sophomore guard Brittany Davidson scored 21 points to lead the Lady Wildcats, while Walker scored 15, Courtney Wade 14 and Hood 10.
Princess Bender scored 22 to lead Heidelberg.
The two teams play again on Saturday, when Meridian pays a visit to Heidelberg.
Davidson was the tournament MVP. Other players named to the all-tournament team were Whitney Hood, Courtney Wade and Amber Walker of Meridian; Mashana Bonner and Kemonica McGee of Quitman; Brittney Tate and Zirania Hopkins of Noxubee County; and Princess Bender and April Baker of Heidelberg.
Quitman (boys) 60
Noxubee County 49
Prince Trotter scored 25 points, including 19 in the second half, to lead the panthers to the win in the tournament's early boys game.
Trotter scored 10 of those points in the third quarter when the Panthers outscored Heidelberg 14-7 to stretch a three-point halftime lead to 42-28 after three quarters of play.
Brandon Tate hit eight-of-eight free throws to lead Noxubee County with 16 points, while Reggie Smith scored 10.
Despite losing the game, Noxubee County was an outstanding 18-of-19 from the free throw line.
Noxubee Co. (girls) 65
Quitman 56
The Tigerettes of Noxubee County outscored Quitman 26-15 in the third quarter to turn a five-point halftime deficit into a 51-45 lead with one quarter to play.
Tequitta Smith (12) and Katona Walker (9) scored all of their combined 21 points in the second half to lead Noxubee County's come back. Brittney Tate scored 20 to lead the Tigerettes overall, while Zirania Hopkins scored 14.
Mashana Bonner had an outstanding game for the Lady Panthers, scoring 32 points. She was 12-of-16 from the free-throw line.
Kemonica McGee scored 15 for Quitman.

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