By Lisa Byers
The 400-win club has another member.
Meadville Coach Norm Price added his name to that list on Friday with Meadville’s 81-74 win over Sharon in its Region 5 basketball opener at the House of Thrills.
Price, in his 24th season at the helm of the Bulldogs boys basketball team is now 400-205 for his career. More importantly, though, according to Price, the Bulldogs are now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the region.
“I was happy to get it,” Price said of the win. “I was happier to get it in a league game against a pretty good team at home.
“I didn’t want to start the league out with a loss on our home court. When you play these teams on the road, it’s really difficult to win. So it was a big game.”
From the onset, the Bulldogs showed just how big and important the contest was — though just the fourth of the season.
Sharon did have the lead briefly in the first quarter. But the first half belonged to Meadville, which put together a 9-0 run in the first quarter to take a 17-7 lead with just under a minute and a half to play.
The Tigers cut into that lead with a free throw by Khalil Hopson and field goal by Jamal Waller. A free throw by Malik Anderson ignited another run by the Bulldogs, however. They closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run for a 22-10 lead.
That lead grew to 13 (42-29) at the break. The Bulldogs were in business. The second half, though, belonged to the Tigers.
“They made a good run at us in the second half,” Price said. “I thought the game was getting away from us a little bit in the third and fourth quarters. But we held together and hit some foul shots down the stretch.
“If you make your foul shots, usually that keeps a team from catching up.”
Sharon certainly did make things interesting.
Meadville extended its lead to 15 (44-29) to open the second half. Two-and-a-half minutes later, the Tigers were within just eight (46-38).
From there, the Bulldogs were unable to pull away and their lead shrunk to as little as five points (57-52).
Meadville had seven turnovers in the third quarter alone. Sharon outscored the Bulldogs 45-39 in the second half.
“I think we have yet to play our best game,” said Meadville senior guard Zak Price. “We’re missing chances. We’re missing shots, throwing the ball away.
“I think we could have shut them out early.”
The Bulldogs dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Tigers (1-1, 0-1 Region 5) 44-33. Trevor Clune led Meadville with 12 boards to go along with his 17 points. Price had a game-best 23 points along with eight rebounds. Malik Anderson and Donte Hollingsworth added seven boards each. Hollingsworth also had 13 points.
Yesterday was Hollingsworth’s 18th birthday and he was happy to share the day with coach Price’s milestone win.
“It’s huge, because we did it not only for ourselves but our coach,” Hollingsworth said. “Especially against a team like Sharon. It was a good win for No. 400.”
Hollingsworth said he is honored to play for Price.
“He’s a real good coach,” he said. “I do feel privileged to play for him. He’s taught us a lot. It wasn’t always a great relationship between us. But it’s gotten better. I’m happy.”
Hopson and Darren Stovall finished with 19 points each for the Tigers. Mike Porterfield, who was 0-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half, was 3-for-4 in the second half and finished with nine points.
Meadville was 10 of 14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.