Looking to avenge their blowout 69-34 loss on January 24th, the Meridian boys’ basketball team capped off its five-game homestand by welcoming the 20-0 Skyline Hawks to town for a Friday night battle that was sure to feature one of the most intense crowds of the season. That was apparent even during the JV prelude, which Meridian lost 61-43, and their work in the Varsity contest would be made harder by the fact that they were without Jarrett Jardine, who was injured earlier in the week against Brentsville.
Skyline’s Zachary Diggs, believed to be among the division’s best high school players in the entire state, opened the scoring before the Mustangs got the stands fired up with two three-pointers – one from Daylen Martino and one from Wyatt Trundle – to take an early 6-2 lead. It was short-lived, however, as the Hawks scored the game’s next seven points and then expanded their edge to 22-12 after a quarter. But Meridian stayed in the fight, scoring the first four points of the second period and forcing a Skyline timeout after a Will Davis deep ball cut the deficit to 24-19. The Mustangs got as close as within two, but the visitors used a run late in the half to take a 30-24 lead into the break.
The teams exchanged quick threes to start the third quarter before six straight Skyline points extended their advantage back into double figures, prompting a timeout by the home team. But the bleeding continued as the Hawks’ lead grew to 52-32 headed into the fourth, and at this point it was simply too much to overcome. The deficit topped out at 30 before a late Mustang run was able to cut it to a final tally of 71-45, as the last few minutes were played mostly by backups.
Will Davis, who started for the Mustangs in place of Jardine, led the way for Meridian with 12, while Trundle and Daylen Martino each had 10. Diggs had 20 for Skyline to lead all scorers in the game.
This was the final regular season home game for the Mustangs, who will play at William Monroe next Tuesday before the regional playoffs begin next Friday. Their record now sits at 14-7 on the year.