JUNCTION — Meridian senior Roderic Gatewood Junior has scored a lot of points for the Bobcats in his career. Nobody in school history has scored more, but they will be talking about three of those points in particular for years to come.
Trailing Wayne City 66-64 in the Gallatin County 1A Sectional semifinals, Gatewood Junior hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer over three defenders while falling out of bounds setting off a wild celebration and sending the Bobcats to the Sweet 16.
Gatewood Junior finished with 31 points on the night.
That’s the same tally as Wayne City senior Justin Durham, who was spectacular as well. When Durham wasn’t scoring or grabbing rebounds, he was handling the ball against the Meridian press and setting up teammates for easy buckets.
The Bobcats led 16-15 after one quarter and extended that lead to 30-23 in the second, but the Indians closed within 32-29 by the half. In the third quarter, Wayne City led by as many as six, before Meridian closed within 45-42 heading to the fourth.
The fourth quarter featured more momentum swings as the Bobcats led by four early in the final frame, only to watch the Indians lead by five with a little more a minute to play.
Gatewood Junior scored 21 of his 31 in the second half, including some long 3-pointers late to keep his team in it. The Indians had a chance to seal the deal, but went 1-4 from the free throw line in the final 10 seconds opening the door for Gatewood Junior’s heroics.
Meridian advances to Friday night’s sectional championship game against Webber.