The Juninor High Cairo Pilots beat Meridian High School to claim the Class M Regional Championship on Saturday.
The Cairo Pilots faced Scott County Central High School Tuesday evening at Cairo High School.
The Junior Varsity squad played an aggressive game, maintaining possession of the ball for a majority of the game. The Junior Varsity Pilots pushed past Scott County and were crowned victorious with a score of 63-57.
The Varsity Pilots were unable to contain the Scott County Varsity team, losing 86 – 65.
George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
It’s hardly final . . . and we haven’t taken the time to check records extensively, but in addition to being one of the losingest teams in SIU’s history, the 2014 Salukis may become the all-time leader in “close” losses.
Coach Barry Hinson’s outfit is developing a true ability to play well enough to lose by just a few points.
Check the records to date: The Salukis lost by two points to Austin Peay and Miami (Ohio), by three points to San Diego and Drake, by four points to Chicago State, by six points to Evansville, Bradley and Missouri State, by eight points to Murray State, and by nine to Western Kentucky.
It’s true . . . a loss is a loss whether by one or 21, but eight losses by six or fewer points is somewhat unusual. And, believe me, we’re not trying to make excuses for this year’s team. Nor last year’s team (14-17). Nor Chris Lowery’s final team in 2012 (6-23). Nor Lowery’s second-to-last team in 2011 (11-19). Nor his 2010 team (15-15). Nor his 2009 team (13-18).
It’s been six years since SIU’s basketball program has finished with a winning record and that was a somewhat modest 18-15 mark.
That’s not good. In fact, it’s bad even if this year’s outfit is showing some signs of being competitive.
We acknowledge the fact that Hinson has gone to a young starting lineup. In SIU’s most recent loss — at Missouri State — it not only was young, but exceptionally young with three freshmen and a sophomore.
The Salukis competed. They got off to a fine start, overcame several Missouri State leads during the game and were definitely within striking range in the closing minutes of the game.
However, before one gets excited about the future . . . and particularly in competing against Missouri State, it’s only fair to note that the Bears have one of the youngest teams in the nation. Their leading scorer, a sophomore Marcus Marshall, was recently injured and out for the remainder of the season. A freshman, Austin Ruder, and two other sophomores — Gavin Thurman and Dorrian Williams — combined for 39 of Missouri State’s 69 points against SIU’s 63.
Bear coach Paul Lusk — yeh, the former Saluki great — has two other underclassmen playing at 6-10. Lusk is loaded for the future just as are several other Missouri Valley Conference teams. The Valley, while not necessarily strong this season outside of Wichita State and Indiana State, is loaded with young players.
Despite the fact that the Salukis are comparatively young, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to wind up being the league’s next pre-season choice for championship honors. Or the following season.
Yet, it’s first things first and the Salukis need to win a few games this season, by a single point or whatever. Win a few games and avoid another single-digit win total. That’s a truly tough figure to hide and fortunately there’s only been a few in SIU’s basketball history.
The one we have trouble with is the 1980 record of 7-20 which came after a 7-2 start, including an opening win over Memphis State. We still haven’t figured that one out and don’t even try any longer.
Fred Huff| For The Cairo Citizen
The visual report for the week of December 19, 2013:
The visual report for the week of November 21, 2013:
Brian Branter hopes to pass on more than basketball skills with his summer camp.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has arrested and charged 11 adults and 1 juvenile in their involvement in the brawl at Meridian High School Feb. 20.
Those arrested were: Bruce Woodson, of Cairo, Cameron Robinson of Cairo, Cordell Johnson, of Cairo, Darian Engram of Mound City, Darmez Nelson of Ullin, Darryl Jackson, of Cairo, Dejhanane Washington of Cairo, Jemond Pilgram, of Mounds, Kathryn Nesby, of Mounds, Richard Steele, of Mounds and Wilmont Gibson of Cairo. A juvenile was also arrested.
All 12 suspects were charged with reckless conduct. In the state of Illinois, reckless conduct can either be a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 4 felony.
The Illinois Compiled Statutes, defines reckless conduct as: (a) A person commits reckless conduct when he or she, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly performs an act or act that: (1) cause bodily harm to or endanger the safety of another person; or (2) cause great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.
Pulaski County Sheriff Randy Kern and his officers worked with Meridian High School principal Terrance Gaddy to review video footage and come up with a list of suspects.
Kern said while there have been fights at previous Cairo vs. Meridian basketball games, this even was unique.
“We’ve never had any fights like this before,” Kern said. He added that the number of participants this year was larger than any year he could remember.
“I think there’s probably more that could have been arrested but we didn’t have any information or any I.D.’s on any of them,”he said.
Pulaski County State’s Attorney Grayson Gile could not be reached for comment in this report.
The incident took place after the Cairo vs. Meridian Regional semi-final game at Meridian High School in Mounds. Century and Egyptian were on the court warming up for the final semi-final game when the brawl started and both teams were directed to their locker rooms as county and state police tried to separate the offenders. Police dogs were brought in to help control the crowd. The final game of the night was cancelled and fans were split up based on what side of the gym they were seated and directed to leave from two separate exits.
Isaac Smith contributed to this report.
–Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242
Meridian senior big man Josh “Joddy” Jones signed his national letter of intent April 19 to play basketball at Odessa College in Odessa, Tex.
Odessa College is a junior college power and according to their website, they have had over 100 divison-1 signees. Their most notable alumnus is Larry Johnson, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate and the 1st pick in the 1991 NBA draft.
Jones had an illustrious high school career scoring 1673 points over 104 games, which brings his high school scoring average to 17.1 PPG.
As a senior, Jones was named the MVP of the South Egyptian Conference. He was named All-Conference every year since his sophomore year.
Jones’ end of the season accolades are also impressive. He was 3rd team all state according to the AP, 1st team All Area by A Baseline View, and 4th team All State 1A-2A combined by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
Jones led Meridian his senior season in points, rebounds, and steals. He racked up 12 double-doubles and competed in 3 post-season all star games his senior year.
Since Jones’ sophomore season, Meridian’s record was 81-16.
“It will take a lot of hard work and conditioning,” Jones said when asked about what it will to be successful at the next level.
Jones said he will also keep in mind the “good advice” that he received from coaches and players during his time in high school.
Darius Brown of Northeast High School in Clarksville, TN will also join Jones at Odessa.
— Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242
Century’s Cordon Hight and Meridian’s Josh Jones played in the 35th Annual Lions Club All-Star game at Rend Lake College on March. 29.
Over 30 seniors from Southern Illinois played in the game. There event also featured a three point contest for both the girls’ and boys’ teams as well as a boys dunk contest.
Century’s Cordon Hight scored 6 points, with 7 assists and added 3 steals for the home team.
Josh Jones from the Meridian Bobcats finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. Jones had the game winning lay-up for the away team; he started on a fast break and put it in with 4.0 seconds left in the game and his team up 125-123 in overtime. The home team wasn’t able to get the win with their last shot.
— Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242
The visual report from the week of March 28, 2013