Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for February 1, 2007

...always interesting!

From the Cairo Citizen...

Cairo-Meridian game ends in confusion.

By Bobby Mayberry

A crazy, confusing and controversial ending marred the Cairo-Meridian game at Meridian High School.

With 3:22 left in the final quarter, the clock stopped while Cairo and Meridian each shot two free throws. Bobcat Isiah Jones was shooting because he was fouled at about half court; Pilot Russell Mackins was shooting because Jones was assessed a technical foul for attempting to dunk well after the whistle had sounded.

Both players sank their free throws and Meridian took a 54-41 lead in what had been a close game, 38-37, going into the final quarter.

Cairo was awarded the ball due to the technical foul at the 3:22 mark. Immediately after inbounding the ball, a plastic soda bottle was thrown and struck a woman in the stands. The woman is the mother of a Cairo Pilot player that was on the court and witnessed the bottle striking his mother.

The player confronted fans in the area where he saw the bottle come from, leading the official to quickly stop the game with 3:15 left. The Cairo players and coaching staff were able to move the visibly upset player to the bench area and he was quickly escorted to the Cairo locker room by security personnel who travel with the Pilots.

What had been a few fans leaving the game early turned into hundreds of fans taking advantage of the stoppage in play to exit the gym. It was announced that play would resume as soon as soon as everyone in the gym was seated.

As the stream of fans continued, Cairo Coach Dion Real informed the referee that he was taking his team into the locker room until order was restored but that he wanted to continue the game. Meridian players and coaches quickly followed suit to their own locker room.

Again, it was announced that the game would be continued as soon as everyone in the gym was in their seats.

After a few minutes of everyone wondering what was going on, it was announced that the game was over and that everyone was to leave. This was surprising since there was no widespread misbehavior of fans, players or coaches – other than, of course, the hundreds of fans who exited the gymnasium but were mostly out of the building by this point.

As soon as word made it to the Cairo coaches that the game was over, they were curious as to who made that decision and why.

When asked, the lead official said that the Principal of Meridian High School declared the game over; the Principal later verified that it was his decision.

There is some confusion as to the outcome of a game that is ended prematurely by officials of just one school.

There was no confusion at the start of the game.

In front of a packed house of partisan fans, pretty evenly divided, the Bobcats scored the first seven points of the game.

Cameron Curry opened scoring by rebounding his own missed shot and sticking it back. Next, Isiah Jones, who led all scorers with 16 points, found Malcolm Larry, who scored 15 points, for an inside bucket. Jones then dialed his own number from long distance with a three point shot.

It was three minutes into the game before Arthur Williams scored the first points for Cairo. Williams scored ten points to share top scoring honors on the Pilots with Charles Johnson.

Meridian led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The Pilots, energized by the frenetic play of Rodney Woodson, rallied in the second quarter. Woodson’s steal and lay-up with 1:20 left in the quarter briefly gave the Pilots a 26-25 lead. The Bobcats would tie the game when Isiah Jones sank one of two free throws just nine seconds later after being fouled by Woodson attempting another steal. The game would remain tied at 36 going into the third quarter.

Just ten seconds into the third quarter, Malcolm Larry sank two free throws. Just as quickly, Jeserick Pilgrim found Arthur Williams for a bucket to tie the game at 28.

Ralph Smith nailed a three point basket from the corner at the 6:45 mark, giving the Bobcats a 31-28 lead. That was the only lead for either team in the third quarter more than two points.

Cairo scored five straight points to take a 33-31 lead after Rodney Woodson drove the lane to score amongst the tall timbers.

The teams would alternate leads until Marland Johnson scored after grabbing an offensive rebound with two seconds left in the quarter, giving Meridian a 38-37 lead going into the shortened fourth quarter.

Cairo inbounded the ball to open the fourth quarter before it was noticed that the alternating possession should have belonged to Meridian. The officials correctly stopped play and gave the ball to the Bobcats.

Both teams were sluggish to start the fourth. It was over a minute an a half into the quarter before Jeremiah Oats made a nice drive to the basket to score, giving the Bobcats a 40-37 lead.

Russell Mackins quickly responded with a basket and free throw attempt, drawing the fourth foul on Ralph Smith in the process. Mackins was errant on the free throw, but the lead was narrowed to one at 40-39.

The Bobcats reeled off the next fourteen points, including Isiah Jones two free throws with 3:22 left in the game.

Isiah Jones led the Bobcats with a game high 16 points. Jones made four three point shots and was 4-6 from the free throw line. Malcolm Larry was the only other Bobcat in double figures with 15. Ralph Smith scored 7, Marland Johnson, Cameron Curry and Jeremiah Oats each scored 6.

Meridian scored 11 two point shots, 5 three pointers (four by Isiah Jones) and made 15 of 24 free throw attempts.

Arthur Williams and Charles Johnson led the Pilots with ten points apiece. Rodney Woodson scored 8 and Russell Mackins added seven. Cairo’s leading scorer, Jeserick Pilgrim, was held to two points.

Cairo made 14 two point shots, 3 three pointers and made 7 of 13 free throw attempts.

Although Meridian held the lead, 54-41, when the game was stopped it is unclear if that is the final score at press time.

The Pilots look forward to two conference games on the road this weekend. Traveling to McLeansboro to face the Hamilton County Foxes on Friday then traveling to Carmi-White County on Saturday.

Cairo defeated the Foxes by a single point in December on a basket by Jeserick Pilgrim with seconds left in the game. The Foxes defeated the Pilots at the Benton Invitational Tournament, although that does not count as a conference game.

Carmi-White County defeated the Pilots by two in Cairo on January 6.