A group of 13 Meece Middle School sixth-graders and fifth-graders did something this past season that very few have ever achieved. The Meece Middle School sixth-grade basketball team went a perfect 18-0 for the season.

Even more amazing than a perfect season, the Meece sixth-graders defeated their opponents by margin of 28 points per game by almost tripling their opponent’s score.

It was a season to remember for the young talented athletes and for their head coach Jody Meece.

“I never really thought about us winning every game this season, but I knew at the beginning of the season this would be a special group of kids,” Meece said. “These kids had a great knowledge of the game of basketball.”

But it was Meece Middle’s two guards — Taylor Gover and D.J. Townsend — that probably had the most experience and set up things for the other players.

“Taylor and D.J. understand the game really well and were able to get the rest of the players involved in the game,” Meece said. “We were fortunate to have kids that could finish after good passes.”

Early into the season, coach Meece saw that his usual style of coaching was not going to be adequate enough for this group of talented sixth-graders. He enlisted the help of Somerset High School boys’ basketball coach Shawn Thacker for some more advanced plays.

“Coach Thacker has always been involved at every level of basketball in the Somerset School system,” Meece said. “He gave us some drills to run that his own high school team uses in their practices, which goes to show you how advanced this group of kids were.”

Coach Meece took very little credit in his team’s undefeated success, because many of the players have already played in organized basketball games for the past four years in AAU competition.

“A lot of these players had so many skills beside dribbling, passing and shooting,” Meece said. “But most importantly, they were all willing to put in the work at practice.”

“It amazes me how fundamentally sound kids are coming into our middle school program,” Meece said. “Thanks to the AAU coaches’ work with these kids at a young age — my job is getting pretty easy.”

The Meece Middle School team was led in scoring by fifth-grader Taylor Gover at 11.6 points per game and D.J. Townsend at 10.4 points per game. The team had very few rebounds, only because Meece didn’t miss many shots and their opponents didn’t get many shots at goal.

“You never know how good of a team you have until you play the South Laurel and the Wayne County teams,” Meece said. “By the Christmas break, I knew we had a good shot at running the table.”

The Meece Middle School sixth-grade team did run the table with a perfect 18 wins by fairly large margins, but one game was not decided until the late stages of the fourth quarter.

In the Jumpers’ first game against Wayne County, Meece Middle trailed as many as 8 points and did not take the lead until late in the fourth quarter.

“Wayne County played us man-to-man and we hadn’t seen that a lot this year, so that shook us up a little at first,” Meece said. “Gover stole the ball, made a layup and got fouled to give us the lead late in the fourth and we ended up winning by 7 points.”

It truly was a season to remember for Tyler Gilmore, Jalen Jones, D. J. Townsend, Taylor Gover, Jarred Wesley, Austin Adams, Tyler Megargel, Tanner Burnett, Jonathan Floyd, Nate Laigne, Alex Lange, Taylor Speaks and Kyle Clark.


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