The Meridian Wildcats showed why they are the state’s number one team with a convincing 64-40 win over Gulfport on Friday at Bert Jenkins Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, coached by former Pascagoula coach Ron Norman, were led by the hot shooting of Ladarius Brewer who sank five three-pointers en-route to a 27-point performance.
“Every night in 6A is always a good team,” said Norman. “We played very, very well tonight. Credit to our senior who came out and played liked the player that he is. We caught them on an off night. This is a team that I know we’re probably going to see in their tournament in a couple of weeks and again in the South State 6A.”
Meridian (11-0) took a 5-4 lead two minutes into the game and never looked back. They led 23-11 at the end of the first quarter and 36-20 at halftime.
Brewer opened the second half scoring with back-to-back three pointers to lead 42-22. Gulfport (7-5) got no closer than 15 points.
Jay Malone added 14 points for the Wildcats, and Tyron Brewer contributed 13. Miles Daniels led Gulfport with 10 points.
“There’s not a lot of good we can take out of that,” said Gulfport’s coach Owen Miller. “I thought we played hard, but when you play teams of that caliber, you can’t get out-rebounded 41-23. You have to take better care of the ball; we had 14 turnovers.
“They’re very balanced. They’ve got a heck of a team. This is our sixth year here. They’re probably the best team we’ve played in six years. They’re really polished. As far as our team, we’ve just got to get better.”
Gulfport girls 48, Meridian 43: The Lady Admirals (7-5) sank four free throws down the stretch to hold off Meridian. Jerkia McInnis and Amyjah Hardnett both converted one-and-one opportunities at the free throw line in the last 30 seconds of the game.
Dywana Parker led the Lady Admirals with 10 points.
“I knew it was going to be a battle,” said Lady Admirals coach Donnie Fuller. “Meridian is always so athletic. This is big for our confidence. We see that we can win these close ones. We lost a couple earlier in the year that were close like this. It was a grind. We made some mistakes, but we made some big plays when we had to have them.”