Southaven's attempt to advance past the first round of the MHSAA 6A boys' basketball tournament was halted by the once-beaten Meridian Wildcats Saturday afternoon 57-40.
The Chargers finished the season with a 17-13 record while Meridian moved into Wednesday's semi-final round with an impressive 31-1 mark. The Wildcats will play Greenville, a 57-52 winner over Pascagoula on Saturday, in a 7 p.m. semifinal contest at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, where Saturday's game with Southaven was held.
It didn't take long for Meridian to take control of the game, getting its first lead with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter at 6-5. The Wildcats held Southaven to just two points the remainder of the quarter and held a 15-7 edge at quarter break.
Meridian continued to pull away in the second quarter and had a 19-point lead on a free throw by Miles Miller with 1:22 remaining before halftime. Southaven trailed 32-17 at intermission.
The Chargers made a comeback in the third quarter and got within four points at 35-31 when K.J. Riley scored on a layup. Another Riley layup got Southaven within 37-33 after Miller answered with his own layup for a 37-31 Meridian edge with 1:40 left in the quarter.
Isaiah Brevard's layup with 12 seconds left in the quarter got the Chargers within 40-35 after three quarters of play.
Southaven's Javion Hibbler cut the difference to 40-37 in favor of Meridian early in the fourth quarter with a layup, but that would be as close as the Chargers could get the remainder of the game, as the Wildcats would pull away to claim the 17-point victory. Southaven was held to just five points the entire fourth quarter.
Miller had a game-high 22 points for Meridian and Tyron Brewer earned a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Riley and T.J. Martin led Southaven with 10 points each.
Meridian hit 41.3 percent of shots from the floor, while holding Southaven to 34.1 percent for the game. The Chargers were held to 6-of-22 shooting from the floor in the first half, or 27.3 percent.
While Meridian struck for 30 percent (6-of-20) from three-point range, Southaven could only muster one three-point shot for the entire contest and finished 1-of-11.
The loss leaves Olive Branch as the only DeSoto County team remaining playing for a state championship. The Conquistadors manhandled Wayne County 93-51 Friday and will play Callaway in Tuesday's 5A semi-final game at 7 p.m. in Jackson.
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Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.