Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat Cathedral’s Jarell Johnson goes up to block the shot attempted by Centreville Academy’s Jake Darden Monday night during the Green Wave’s 58-55 win. Johnson was the high scorer of the game with 27 points. At right, Cathedral’s Wesley Calloway shoots the ball against Centreville’s Tori Rouse Monday night. The Lady Green Wave beat Centreville Academy 36-29. Calloway had two points.

Johnson’s 27, Coley’s late basket lift Green Wave to win over Centreville

Published 12:02am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NATCHEZ — Jarell Johnson’s 14 fourth-quarter points helped Cathedral School erase a 10-point deficit, and James Allen Coley’s three-point play with five seconds left ended up being the difference against Centreville Academy Monday night.

The Green Wave clawed its way back into a game that Centreville took control of in the second quarter, and with the score tied at 55, R.J. Givens found Coley sliding to the basket, the pass connected and Coley nailed the lay up and ensuing free throw.

“(Coley) hadn’t hit a free throw all night,” Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold said. “I called time out after the lay up, and he was trying to find a towel to dry his hands. I told him, ‘I know you are going to make it.’”

Coley, who finished with 15 points, needed the help of the backboard on the free throw, but it went in to give the Green Wave a three-point lead with five seconds to go. A desperation three-pointer by Centreville’s Jake Darden missed its mark, and Cathedral secured its first win of the season, 58-55.

“You really find out the character of you kids, when the have to keep coming back from losses,” Arnold said. “The kids are playing really hard, and we needed to get this win.”

Johnson finished the contest with 27 points, and his fourth quarter outburst was key to the Green Wave’s recovery.

“Jarell is our best player and our best athlete,” Arnold said. “He’s capable of playing really well when he slows down enough, and he did that.”

The Tigers dominated the second quarter after both teams scored 14 points in the opening frame. Centreville outscored Cathedral 17-7 in the second period to lead by 10 at half.

“We were playing good defense, and we had a lot of steals,” Centreville coach Mike Swindle said.

The Tigers took a big blow in the first half, however, when post player Cody Peak was forced out of the game after sustaining a knee injury.

“That was a big loss for us, because he’s kind of our inside threat,” Swindle said.

The two teams tied the third quarter to allow Centreville to maintain its 10-point lead heading into the final period.

But, Johnson and Cathedral kept chipping away in the fourth quarter.

“We let them back in the game and gave them some easy shots,” Swindle said. “We had turnovers and took some bad shots at the end. We let that one get away from us.”

Darden finished the game with 16 points, and Corey Gaulden led the Tigers with 17 points.

Arnold said he challenged his team at halftime when it trailed by 10.

“We had a real honest talk at halftime about hurting ourselves,” he said. “And in the second half we came out playing well, and I told them that on every possession we had to play as hard as we can play, and we gutted it out.”

Cathedral (1-3) will travel to face Salem High School tonight. Centreville (1-2) will play against Thursday at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

Cathedral girls 36, Centreville 29

Sarah Beth Willard scored 19 points Monday night, which was more than enough to lift her Lady Green Wave team to a win over Centreville.

Cathedral used a 12-2 start in the first quarter to build a solid lead and held on for a 36-29 victory.

“Sarah Beth Willard was the reason we won this game,” head coach Randy Smith said. “She did not play last year, but she decided to play her senior year, and we are so happy she did.”

Centreville’s Tori Rouse finished her night with 17 points, but did not get a whole lot of help from her Lady Tiger teammates.

“When you score 2 points in the first (quarter) and nine in the second for 11 at halftime, you are not going to win many games,” Swindle said. “We’re getting fairly decent shots, but we are not putting them in the goal.”

Cathedral’s Kennedy Gray helped Willard out with eight points of her own as the two combined for 75 percent of the team’s points.

The win puts the Lady Green Wave at 3-2 on the season. They will face Salem tonight.

“This is the best record we’ve had in a couple of years,” Smith said.

Centreville is 2-3 and looking to improve before playing Trinity Thursday, Swindle said.

“Our full-court press is getting turnovers, but the turnovers are not turning into points,” Swindle said. “We just have to keep working on it. We’ve been cold the last couple of games, but eventually it will turn around.”