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ACCS girls use big second half to top Cathedral at home

Cathedral School’s Caroline Smith, left, and Crystal Beckwith grapple for the ball with Adams County Christian School’s Ashleigh Williams during Friday’s game. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — A quick start by Adams County Christian School and a slow start by Cathedral School gave an early indication of a blowout.

But the Lady Green Wave used a strong second quarter to make things interesting for a while before ACCS finally took control in the second half.

Tory Laird led the Lady Rebels with 17 points as ACCS went on to a 50-33 win against Cathedral Friday night. Lady Rebels head coach Melanie Hall said the strong start set the tone for her team, as the Lady Green Wave struggled against ACCS’ full-court press.

“To God be the glory,” Hall said. “From the opening tip, the girls came out ready to play. The press was working well, and I felt like if we did what we were capable of (with the press), we’d have some success with it.”

Laird scored 10 of her 17 in the first quarter, and the Lady Rebels went on take an early 18-5 lead. But ACCS went scoreless for a five-minute stretch in the second quarter, allowing Cathedral to make up some ground. The Lady Green Wave trailed 26-16 at intermission.

“I don’t think the rotation was real good,” Hall said of her team’s second-quarter troubles. “We didn’t seem to flow really well for a little while, but with that exception, we played well on both ends of the floor.”

Cathedral girls head coach Randy Smith said he was pleased with his girls’ efforts despite the loss.

“They really beat us up last game, so I was very happy we stayed close to them without letting them get too far ahead,” Smith said.

“They pressed us well, and that caused us a lot of trouble. When we finally did start breaking it, we missed several layups and had a lot of turnovers that kept us from getting really close.”

ACCS began pulling away in the third quarter, taking a 38-23 lead into the fourth. Nikki Worthey scored 10 points for the Lady Rebels. Taylor Beesley led Cathedral in scoring with seven points.

Hall said Laird’s play was huge for her team, not just offensively, but also defensively.

“Everyone feeds off Tory,” Hall said. “She played a super ball game on both ends of the floor.”

ACCS rose to 5-10 on the season, while Cathedral fell to 4-11.

ACCS boys 38, Cathedral 34

Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold summed up the game by giving a witty description of both teams’ offenses.

“Shooting-wise, I think we both set the game of basketball back 20 years,” Arnold said.

Despite making it close at the end, Cathedral was unable to muster enough offense as ACCS pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. The Rebels led 31-24 at the end of the third, but Cathedral cut the lead to 33-28 with 4:40 left in regulation.

Three free throws and a field goal were just enough in the final four minutes to keep the Green Wave at bay, despite Cathedral scoring six points of its own in that timeframe.

“It was ugly and sloppy — an ugly win,” ACCS boys head coach Richy Spears said. “But it’s like I told them, I’d rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss. They took away some stuff we were trying to do. We couldn’t get the ball inside, and we couldn’t make any (three-pointers) to get them spread out.”

Arnold said he couldn’t fault his players’ effort, but there simply aren’t enough skilled basketball players on the roster to instinctively make plays.

“We’re just not there,” Arnold said. “In spite of the way it looks, they work really hard at practice. They try as hard as they can.”

Cathedral (6-9) will play at Trinity Tuesday, while ACCS (5-9) will host Parklane Academy today.

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