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Bulldog brawl: Natchez boys defeat Brandon High 49-48 in nailbiter

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Natchez High School’s Darius Ford and Gary Woods and Brandon High School’s Howard Thomas all reach for the rebound during Friday’s game. Natchez defeated Brandon 49-48.

NATCHEZ — Thanks to some solid defense and the play of Gary Woods and De’Arius Griffin, the Natchez High Bulldogs rallied from a six-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to defeat the Brandon Bulldogs 49-48 Friday night in an MHSAA Division 6-6A game.

The game was tied at 24-24 at halftime. Then Brandon controlled the action in the third quarter and outscored Natchez High 13-7 for a 37-31 lead. However, the host Bulldogs turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and that allowed them to get back in the ball game.

“We played extremely hard. Just being hard-nosed, playing defense. I told them they’re not going to give it to us. We’re going to have to take it,” Natchez High assistant coach David Haywood said.

Woods, who led Natchez High with 15 points, and Griffin each hit some key 3-pointers down the stretch and Griffin, who had eight points, made the game-winning lay-up. Derrian Johnson had 10 points and LaDarrius Williams chipped in with nine points.

“We got some key turnovers. Our defense never giving up gave us an opportunity to win the game,” Haywood said. “I’m really proud of them because I think they’re taking a step in the right direction.”

Brandon led Natchez High 14-12 after one quarter of play before the host Bulldogs outscored the visiting Bulldogs 12-10 to make it a tie ball game.

Natchez High (9-8, 1-1) plays at Terry next Tuesday night.

Brandon girls 50, Natchez High 38

Led by Olivia Countiss and Tytiana Hall, the Brandon Lady Bulldogs defeated the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs in MHSAA Division 6-6A action Friday night.

With Natchez High struggling to make shots throughout the first three quarters, Brandon was able to take advantage. The visiting Lady Bulldogs got off to a strong start and led the host Lady Bulldogs 17-8 after one quarter of play.

Once halftime arrived, Brandon led Natchez High 25-17. The third quarter was more of the same as Brandon’s defense gave Natchez High all sorts of problems. The visiting Lady Bulldogs outscored the home-standing Lady Bulldogs 11-7 for a 36-24 lead.

Countiss led all scorers with 17 points and Hall finished with 13 points. Keyana Miller narrowly finished in double figures as she led Natchez High with 10 points while Ernesha Chatman had eight points.

Natchez High (13-4, 1-1) plays at Terry on Tuesday.