CHEMISTRY CHECK: Jackets looking to turn the corner in Classic

in Boys Basketball

MERIDIAN – After taking 10 days off for the Christmas break, the Meridian Yellowjacket boys basketball team hopes to turn the corner as they host the Meridian Pink Out Basketball Classic Friday-Saturday in Jacket Gymnasium.

Before holiday break, Italy used a strong final period to put the Jackets away and secure a convincing 77-50 road victory Dec. 17, handing Meridian its seventh loss in the last eight games. After building a 12-point lead through three quarters, the Gladiators outscored Meridian (5-9), 23-8, in the fourth to run away with the win.

“I really appreciate how well we are moving towards January,”  Meridian’s second-year boys basketball head coach Carlos Johansson said. “The boys are discovering new ways on how to work together and seeing the importance of teamwork. Chemistry is still strong and will only get stronger. Only getting better.”

In the Hamilton Tournament Dec. 12-14, the Jackets dropped two of three games, opening with a 66-43 loss to Comanche as senior Zade Kendall scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a losing effort. After battling in the first half Thursday, Comanche outscored the Jackets, 23-8, in the third quarter to pull away for the win.

Meridian rebounded to knock off Bangs,  43-35, Friday. After jumping out to a comfortable 29-14 lead before intermission, the Jackets held off a Bangs second-half rally to secure the victory.

Then on Saturday, Eastland defeated Meridian, 57-47, as senior Matt Rosas led Jackets with 18 points, followed by Kendall with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Eastland used a big second quarter to build a 27-16 halftime lead, but had to escape a strong fourth period effort from Meridian to take the win.

In the Meridian Pink Out Basketball Classic this weekend, the Jackets open the tournament Friday against Blum at 9:45 a.m. before taking on Bosque County arch-rival Valley Mills at 7:45 p.m. Then on Saturday, the Meridian boys face Hamilton at 12:15 p.m. before closing out the tournament against Itasca at 7:45 p.m.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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