On left, Natchez High School’s DeVonta Green looks to the baskets as he splits Ferriday High School’s Will Scott and Dartavious Bethly during the Bulldogs 69-39 home win Tuesday night. On right, Natchez High School’s Kiana Jones breezes past Ferriday High School’s Quanisha Fontenot during the Lady Bulldogs’ 76-40 home win Tuesday night. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NHS girls, boys sweep Ferriday

Published 12:01am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School pilfered pass after pass against Ferriday High School to open up with a 43-17 lead at the half Tuesday night.

And the Lady Bulldogs continued to roll in the final two periods, putting away the Lady Trojans 76-40 on a night when four players scored in double figures for NHS,

The Lady Bulldogs had six steals in the first quarter and five steals in the second quarter, something head coach Alphaka Moore said was a big difference in the game.

“They’re getting used to the new defense and jumping into passes and really taking time to jump into passes,” Moore said. “That’s what led to the steals.”

Ferriday girls head coach Lisa Abron said the more experienced NHS girls were too much for her younger players, especially when it came to protecting the ball.

“(The steals) did have an impact mentally in the beginning,” Abron said. “I told them to stay focused, and I had to get them calmed down.”

NHS hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, including two from guard Keyana Miller, to open up to a 22-8 lead after one. Miller scored 13 of her 26 points in the first half.

Kiana Jones had added 13 points, but the inside play of sophomore Rashonea Rice and freshman Zyaire Ewing were particularly impressive. Ewing had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Rice finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

“They’re two of our youngest players, and they’re getting used to playing their role, which is rebounding, blocking out and taking advantage of disadvantages inside,” Moore said.

Despite NHS leading 65-22 at the end of the third period, Abron opted not to run the clock continuously, which she said would help her players in the long run.

“I need the experience, and running the clock wasn’t going to help me,” Abron said. “I wanted my players to work on what we need to do — play as a team.”

Moore elected to keep Miller in the game until 4:35 left in regulation, despite the blowout lead. Moore said she was trying to help her All-Star guard continue to improve in order to receive state-wide accolades.

“I try to give her a little time to work on things and improve on what she needs to improve on,” Moore said. “She’s going for a few state awards.”

Ferriday’s Joda Griggs tallied 16 points, and Shakeria Kelly had 11 points.

NHS rose to 3-1. Ferriday (0-2) will play Madison High School in the Tensas High School tournament Thursday.

Natchez High boys 69,

Ferriday High 39

Gary Woods had 15 points and Dearius Griffin added 14 points as the Bulldogs cruised against the Trojans.

NHS led 31-18 at intermission, and Ferriday was unable to mount a comeback with several players out with illnesses, Trojans head coach K.G. Watkins said.

“We’re missing four guys, and there are a couple of guys I would have liked to see,” Watkins said.

“They’ve played a couple of more games than us, and they were much cleaner on offense and defense. Those are just things we have to fix.”

Bulldogs assistant coach David Haywood said his team played well in spurts and singled out Kaylin Griffin for a strong game, despite Kaylin only finishing with four points.

“He rebounded a lot and got a bunch of assists,” Haywood said. “He was probably the most effective on the court.”

Though Dearius and Woods both finished in scoring with double digits, Haywood said he thinks those two can play even better than they did Tuesday.

“I’ve seen them do better,” Haywood said. “Both took plays off and tried to force things here and there. When we get to district play, their games will have to be a lot better.”

Brandon Scott led Ferriday in scoring with 10 points. No one else scored in double digits, and poor free throw shooting was a key difference in the game, Watkins said.

“I think we missed 19 (foul shots), and that would have made the game much closer,” Watkins said. “We had opportunities, we just didn’t take them.”

NHS (2-2) will host Jefferson County Friday, while Ferriday (1-1) will play Sicily Island in the Tensas High School tournament Thursday.