West Central cruises to Class 1A championship

Mar. 9—The final moments of West Central's Class 1A state championship, and the ensuing celebration:

— Joey Wright (@JoeyWright2000) March 9, 2024

By the numbers ... Flenoid and senior Jai'Deon Reed

* were Meridian's catalysts in its semifinal win on Thursday against Hope Academy, establishing their presence in the post with a combined 39 points and 21 rebounds. West Central held Flenoid to just four rebounds Saturday — the Cougars outrebounded the Bobcats 38-22 — and Reed had a prior injury that kept him on the bench for all but two minutes of game time. Without that post efficiency, the Bobcats had to turn to their shooters, but they went 3 for 22 from three-point range. West Central also only committed seven fouls compared to Meridian's 22.

What West Central said ... "This is a very special group. They're passionate, they love the game, they're dedicated and they're not scared of any moment. We've been in several big games this year, and from the tip, these guys were ready to go. I love these guys. This is special, and it's something we'll remember for the rest of our lives." — coach Ryan Sichting

* "I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They always found me when I was open and set good screens for me. I definitely couldn't have done it without them.

... I knew I had to bring it in order for us to get a big win." — senior Zack Evans

* "It was a great feeling because we've been working really hard for this all year. We've been through a lot this year, so it was great to finally see our goal come true."

— senior Mason Berry

What Meridian said ... "I'm very proud. We played in the last game any senior could play and the last game any 1A team could play. Can't be any more proud of my guys, the way they played and the way they represented the deep south. ... I couldn't say much (after the game) because I was already overwhelmed. I just had to give my guys a thumbs up motion and say 'Get your heads up.' That second-place trophy is the same size as first place. It's just a different number." — coach David Davis