The Meridian High School (Mounds, IL) Boys' Basketball team lost to Woodlawn Tuesday night in the IHSA Super Sectional Tournament game in Salem, Illinois by a score of 51-40. Coach Jeff Mandrell's 28-6 Bobcats return home having won the Sectional Title for the first time since their State Finals Runner-Up finish in 1972. The title brings hope for the future to a small school with few other sports to lean on. 13 of the 15 players on the roster will return next season.
"At the beginning of the season, in discussing the team, we had hoped that we could win 15 games," says Athletic Director Mitch Haskins. "After losing 9 seniors from last year's team that went 29-2, we fought to a record of 28-6, with every loss being decided only in the final minute. To say that a third straight Regional title was big is an understatement, but to say that this team won a Sectional crown for the first time in 39 years was huge, that would be the biggest understatement any coach could make."
Returning home from "Death Valley" today, the Bobcat fans are beaming with pride, despite the loss. One alumni tweeted, "Next year is our year! This was just the last stepping stone."
'The district is immensely proud of this team, the coaches, the cheerleaders, and the fans. It's what Bobcat Nation is all about," says Haskins. As for next year, we will be watching, and you can be sure that other local teams will be gunning for the Bobcats come then.