Meridian girls rally for win

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
June 27, 2004
No matter what happens in today's finals, Meridian High School head girls basketball coach Stephanie Murphy says she's pleased with what she has seen out of her Lady Wildcats this weekend.
MHS survived a physical first half and a pair of spirited rallies by Noxubee County High School to take a 76-58 semifinal win.
Meridian will play Choctaw Central at 1:30 p.m. today at Meridian Community College's Ivy Sports Central. Choctaw Central downed Pillow Academy of Greenwood in the Pool III-Pool IV semifinal contest played at Newton County High School.
More than 30 fouls were called in the first half as both teams made sure to put their bodies on their opponents. The bigger Lady Wildcats led 27-14 when Whitney Hood converted a three-point play with 3:30 left in the first half.
MHS led 29-17 with 2:48 left, but the Tigerettes of Noxubee County scored the last nine points of the half, including a basket at the buzzer to cut the Lady Wildcats lead to 29-26.
The game remained tight early in the second half, with the two teams splitting the first 14 points, before Meridian began to open the game up. MHS outscored Noxubee 11-3 in a spurt midway in the second half to go up 49-38 and regain control of the game.
Hood led MHS with 17 points, while Davidson and Amber Walker scored 15 each. Mindy Mendiola scored all eight of her points from the free-throw line in the second half.
Zirconia Hopkins and Tequita Smith scored 13 points each to lead Noxubee County.
Meridian 48
SE Lauderdale 38
Meridian High School used patience and superior depth and size to wear down Southeast Lauderdale in the second half and win the Pool I championship.
SEL led 19-14 with three minutes to play in the first half, but MHS rallied to lead 21-20 at the break and then took control in the early stages of the second half.
MHS quickly stretched its one point lead to 40-28, before the Lady Tigers of Southeast began to chip away, eventually cutting it to seven points with less than 50 seconds to play.
Meridian jumped out to leads of 8-1 and 10-4 to start the game, but then went totally cold from the floor, as Southeast Lauderdale went on a 10-point run, while the Lady Wildcats didn't score for a span of five minutes and 34 seconds.
Meridian High School used balanced scoring to post the win, with Davidson leading the way with 10 points. Merissa Mendiola and Sade Coates scored eight points each for the Lady Wildcats, while Dana Cox had seven.
Freshman Lucy Ruffin pumped in 20 points to lead Southeast, while Martika Ivy had seven and Marqueta Reed added six.
West Lauderdale 44
Carthage 37
The Lady Knights picked up their first win of the State Games in Saturday morning's opener at Meridian High School.
Sommer Jones scored 14 points to lead West Lauderdale, while Holly Herrington tossed in nine and Whitney Gale and CeeCee Hampton scored seven each.
Katherine Taylor scored nine to lead Carthage.
Noxubee County 62
Neshoba Central 22
The Tigerettes of Noxubee County took the Pool II title with the convincing win over Neshoba Central.
First and last names of the Noxubee County and Neshoba Central scorers were not available.
Warren Central 39
Northeast Lauderdale 36
The Lady Vikings of Warren Central held off the Lady Trojans to take the three-point win and second place in Pool II.
Fatima Chase led Warren Central with 12 points, while Quita Bell poured in 21 for Northeast Lauderdale.
Northeast Lauderdale 37
Carthage 34
Bell scored 11 points to lead Northeast Lauderdale to a three-point, cross-bracket win over Carthage.
Maria Neal scored 10 for Carthage.
Southeast Lauderdale 55
Neshoba Central 40
Ivy scored 21 points, and Ruffin added 14 to lead Southeast Lauderdale to its cross-bracket win over Neshoba Central.
Scorers for Neshoba Central were not available.
Noxubee County 51
West Lauderdale 24
The Tigerettes won their fourth game in two days behind the 14 points of Katrina Walker.
Hampton led West Lauderdale with 12.
Meridian 56
Warren Central 43
The Lady Wildcats of MHS remained undefeated with the 13-point win over Warren Central.
Davidson knocked down eight three-pointers to score a game-high 29 points for Meridian, while Hood, Walker and Merissa Mendiola scored eight each.
Cookie Johnson scored 16 to lead Warren Central, while LaBrea Jones had eight.

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