HOSTING HOSTILES: Itasca wins Meridian Pink Out Tournament

in Boys Basketball

MERIDIAN – After taking a 10-day break for the Christmas holiday, the Meridian Yellowjacket boys basketball team hosted the Meridian Pink Out Basketball Classic in hopes of snapping out of their recent skid, having lost seven of their last eight games before the layoff.

Meridian (7-12) opened the pool play tournament on a positive note, knocking off Blum, 76-59, last Friday as senior Zade Kendall poured in a game-high 33 points while pulling down 14 rebounds. Senior Demarius Parks contributed 12 points and 10 boards while senior Matt Rosas added 12 points.

But then, the Jackets suffered three straight losses, falling to Bosque County rival Valley Mills, 68-52, Friday, before coming up short against tournament runner-up Hamilton, 46-34, and tournament champion Itasca, 67-49, on Saturday.

Against Valley Mills, Parks led the Jackets with 16 points and 13 rebounds, Rosas added another 16 points, followed by Kendall with 13. In the loss to Hamilton, Rosas scored a team-high 15 points, while Kendall tossed in 10 and pulled down 12 boards. Against Itasca, four Jackets scored in double figures as Kendall led with 15 points, followed by Parks with 12, along with Rosas and junior Dylan Poole with 10 each.

“Overall, I feel we competed very well versus these schools,” Meridian boys basketball head coach Carlos Johansson said. “It was some great competition for our boys. We gained a great amount of new experience, and now we just get back to work.”

Meridian did just that by snapping a three-game losing streak with a hard-fought 63-57 road victory over Ranger Tuesday as Kendall dominated with 31 points and 15 boards. The Jackets built a 53-37 lead before holding off a fourth quarter rally. Also scoring in double figures, Rosas and Parks added 11 points apiece.

“It was a great bounce back win for the boys,” Johansson said. “We played very tough defense throughout the game.”

Meridian continues preparing for district when the Jackets host Itasca at 1 p.m. Friday.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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