Meridianville tops LMS Tigers

Friday, November 4, 2011
LMS guard Malek Sain (2) hits a lay up over Meridianville's Cole Guffey in the fourth quarter. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

On Tuesday night, the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers were unable to pass a tough early season test, as they opened the 2011-12 basketball campaign with a 45-32 home loss to a perennially strong Meridianville, AL squad.

After leading by as many as nine points early on, the Tigers held a 13-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but the Eagles dominated the next two periods of play with the help of their suffocating full court press and outscored LMS 30-11 during that span to open up a 41-24 cushion before cruising to the 13-point victory.

Despite hitting 6-of-14 shots in the first quarter, Lewisburg finished with only 13 field goals on 32 percent shooting, which included a 3-of-11 effort from three-point range, while committing 29 turnovers.

"Turnovers were the difference in the game. We were unsure of when to take it and when to pass, but that will come with experience," said LMS coach David Lovell. "Meridianville really picked up their intensity after they got down and then we didn't match it."

The Eagles, conversely, tallied 19 baskets on 37 percent shooting, highlighted by three treys, and committed only 15 turnovers.

Center Darius McKenzie hit 5-of-9 shots and led the Tigers with 11 points to go along with nine rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot, while guards D'Andre Brown and Malek Sain added 10 and eight points respectively. Curtis Keiler (two points) and Jay Howard (one point) rounded out the scoring for Lewisburg.

Reserve guard Cole Guffy gave Meridianville a big lift off the bench by pouring in a game high 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while point guard Matthew Temple notched 11 points, eight assists, and five steals. Julian Jones and Preston Stafford chipped in eight and seven points for the Eagles as well.

The Tigers came sprinting out of the gate and built an 13-4 lead midway through the first quarter behind seven points from Brown and six points from McKenzie, before Meridianville ripped off nine straight points to tie the score at 13-13 early in the second.

After Brown hit a layup to momentarily put LMS up 15-13, the Eagles went on a 12-2 run to seize a 25-17 advantage late in the half.

Lewisburg tallied the final three points of the half on a Howard free and a layup by McKenzie to narrow the gap to 25-20, but Meridianville put the game out of reach with a 16-4 spurt in the third quarter to push their lead to 41-24.

The Tigers then outscored the Eagles 8-4 in the fourth period with the aid of two treys and a layup from Sain for the 45-32 final.