After a few weeks off, Meridian’s boys’ basketball squad returned to action with a Wednesday night home tilt against James Wood High, looking to improve upon their 5-5 record. Before they took the floor, though, the JV squad faced off against the same opponent, and fell 39-37 in a hotly contested matchup that was decided on a game winning three-pointer by the visitors in the final seconds.
Looking to leave home fans with a better taste in their mouths, Wyatt Trundle opened the scoring for the Varsity team and the Mustangs raced out to an early 12-2 advantage against what head coach Jim Smith described pregame as a “very good” opponent. Wood cut the deficit to three late in the first, but Meridian was able to get a three-pointer from Trundle to lead 17-11 after a frame. They maintained and slightly built upon that edge in the second quarter, and went into the halftime break ahead 29-22.
Daylen Martino got things started in the second half with a quick layup, but Wood cut the deficit to 31-29 minutes later, forcing a Mustang timeout. It must have done the trick, as Meridian went on a 7-1 run immediately afterwards, though the visitors were able to climb back within 38-35 heading into the final frame. Another hot start to a quarter gave Meridian a 43-36 advantage with under six minutes remaining, and they continued to respond to each run by Wood with one of their own. A three-point play by Trundle inside of three minutes left gave the Mustangs their first double digit edge of the second half as they went ahead 50-40, and after Wood resorted to an early intentional fouling strategy, Meridian was able to build its largest lead of the game at 58-42 with under a minute remaining. That would prove to be the final score, and the Mustangs improved to 6-5 on the year. Martino led all scorers with 17, while Trundle also got into double figures with 12. The boys’ next contest will be at Trinity Christian on Tuesday, January 10th, the first in a series of five straight road games before returning home at the end of the month.