NORTHWEST REGIONAL: Meek falls to South Lamar, 58-46


Meek’s Payton Key (20) getting a shot off against South Lamar Friday night in the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State. / Nick Griffin

HANCEVILLE – They Meek Tigers were looking to avenge their 2017 loss to the South Lamar Stallions when the two teams met in the Northwest Regional Sweet 16 Friday evening. Unfortunately for the Tigers, one quarter was their downfall, and they wound up falling, 58-46.

The Tigers started out quick as a layup by Jacob Woodard and a trey by Payton Key gave them a quick 5-1 lead early, and they finished the quarter strong; layups by Caleb Aaron and John Mark Abercrombie and another three by Key helped the Tigers take a 12-8 lead after one.

It was a hot start in the second for Meek from the three-point stripe. Key and Kevin Chino nailed back-to-back treys to give the Tigers an 18-8 lead. But then, they got sloppy with the ball, and the Stallions started to cut into the double-digit lead, going on a 13-2 run and taking a 21-20 lead after a layup by Malik Cox. Aaron gave the Tigers the lead right back on a pair from the line and Meek went into the locker room with a 22-21 advantage.

Key hit a trey to start the third, giving Meek a 25-21 lead.

Then it was the Cox show, as the 6'6" center put up 15 of his 24 points in the quarter, including a pair of treys and an and one. Meek couldn't find an answer to Cox, and they watched their lead quickly evaporate and headed into the final eight minutes down, 42-32.

A pair of free throws by Luke Sherer and a layup by Key cut the deficit to just six at 42-36, but the Tigers couldn't get any closer as South Lamar out-rebounded them by seven in the game, 34-27, and Meek was forced into taking tough shots. The Stallions hit some fast-break layups and some free throws to pull away late.

The Tigers never quit, but came up short, 58-46, ending their season with an incredible record of 25-6. Seven seniors played their last game in a Meek uniform Friday night: Woodard, Sherer, Abercrombie, Ian Sargent, Haydon Twilley, Jester Wright and Andrew Phillips.

Key finished with 14 points and six rebounds for the Tigers. Woodard finished with eight points, four boards, three assists and a steal. Aaron ended up with six points, three rebounds, an assist, two blocks and two steals. Chino also finished with six points and he added an assist as well. Sherer had four points, six rebounds, two assists and a block. Twilley and Phillips each finished with three and Abercrombie ended up with two points, three boards, an assist and a block.

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