No. 5 seed Meridian claws way to CIC finals

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Meridian sophomore forward Jacob Jones scored 18 points in the Hawks' second round win over Tuscola and 19 points in their opening round win over Central A&M. Meridian sophomore forward Jacob Jones scored 18 points in the Hawks' second round win over Tuscola and 19 points in their opening round win over Central A&M.

TUSCOLA -- It's been a topsy-turvy week at the Central Illinois Conference Tournament at Tuscola High's gym. The presumed favorite, No. 1 seed Shelbyville, has lost twice including once to the field's lowest seed, the host No. 8 Warriors.

Then there's No. 5 seed Meridian, a team that's gone 3-5 against CIC foes and 0-4 in official regular season CIC games but caught fire and knocked off No. 4 seed Central A&M plus red-hot No. 8 seed Tuscola to reach the finals.

This week they've found a new gear thanks to blossoming sophomore forward Jacob Jones and the usual one-two punch of high-scoring guards Cameron Getz and Garrett Meisenhelter. Mix in senior point guard Nate Durbin and 6-foot-6 senior Connor Hurelbrink and you have an experienced Hawks squad that's peaking at the right time.

Next up for coach Jay Driscoll and Meridian (12-10) is a clash in the championship game against No. 2 seed St. Teresa. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Tuscola High School. The third place game, also on Friday, will feature No. 3 seed Clinton taking on No. 8 seed Tuscola in a 6 p.m. game.

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