Posted On: 11/21/18 8:00 AM

Southaven, MS. – This was a revenge game for Memphis East, which lost to Olive Branch last season at the very end.

Fast forward a year later, the Mustangs no longer have Alex Lomax, Chandler and Jonathan Lawson. Penny Hardaway is now the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Memphis, and the backcourt has new faces.

The ‘Quistors didn’t change much from last season. The most important returned, looking to go 2-0 against Memphis East.

But the Mustangs, under new head Javonte Holmes, had different plans.

James Wiseman, the No. 2 ranked player in the 2019 class, finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds, and six blocks. Malcolm Dandridge, a Memphis commit in the 2019 class, added 14 points and 14 rebounds as Memphis East (2-0) defeated Olive Branch (4-1), 69-50, to even the score from last season in the Mid-South Basketball Classic.

Wiseman became part of the Tigers’ 2019 class early Tuesday morning, joining Dandridge and D.J. Jeffries. Jeffries, another 2019 commit for Memphis, will be Wiseman’s teammate next season, but Wiseman wasn’t in the mood for friendship once the game started.

The ‘Quistors never led in this one as the Mustangs had their way with Eric Rambough’s team from the opening tip. Wiseman and Dandridge scored East’s final 18 points of the second quarter to go into halftime up 33-21.

Things got interesting for a short moment in the third quarter when point guard C.J Owens converted on a 3-point play to bring Olive Branch within 40-31. Senior point guard Derrein Merriweather drained a 3 then Wiseman followed up a score of his own to make it 45-31.

The ‘Quistors cut their deficit to single digits early in the fourth quarter off a score from junior forward Cameron Matthews, but a score from Wiseman and another 3-pointer from Merriweather pushed the Mustangs’ lead back up to 53-39.

Merriweather, a 6-foot point guard, finished with 15 points, with 12 of his points coming from long range.

“He can shoot the cover off the ball. He won’t miss too many,” said newly acquired senior point guard Antonio Thomas. “There aren’t that many guards that can play the point and shoot like he can. There are usually a couple of guards that can get to the basket, shoot the mid-range, but he has the total package.”

Matthews finished 14 points on a night Olive Branch couldn’t stop the offensive explosiveness of Wiseman and Dandridge. The ‘Quistors had opportunities to get back into the game from the free throw line, but the shots weren’t falling. Jeffries made just 5 of 10 shots from the charity stripe. Senior point guard Joe Cooper went 1 for 3, and Matthews went 3 for 7.

3 quick thoughts

  • Olive Branch played zone for the entire game, trying to take Wiseman and Dandridge out of the game, but it didn’t work. Both post players were able to score in transition, and both guys can pass the basketball.
  • “I saw how my post players can pass the ball with each other, and so, I was pleased with the effort,” Holmes said.
  • Cooper is still struggling from the foul line. In the ‘Quistors win over Southaven last Saturday night, Cooper went 3 for 10. Against East, he went 1 for 3.
  • Jeffries is Olive Branch’s tallest player at 6-7. Matthews is the team’s second tallest player at 6-5. It’s obvious the ‘Quistors will struggle against teams with size. Going up against Wiseman, who’s 7-0, is a prime example of what kind of trouble Olive Branch may run into if it faces that kind of size in the post.