° empty

Tensas Academy holds on to beat resilient Centreville team

NATCHEZ — The Centreville Academy Lady Tigers never gave up in their 45-40 loss to Tensas Academy in ACCS Girls’ Tip-Off Tournament Tuesday.

An 11-point deficit shrunk to five with just one minute to go on hustle play after hustle play by Katelyn Chandler. But free throws and foul trouble hurt Centreville the most.

And as an undersized team, those are two things they must capitalize on as their season gets started, Centreville head coach Ricky Gray said.

Tensas Academy's Taylor Olds dribbles past Centreville Academy's Katelyn Chandler in the second half of the girls varsity basketball game Tuesday evening during the Adams County Christian School Girls’ Tip-Off Tournament. (Brittany Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat)
Tensas Academy’s Taylor Olds dribbles past Centreville Academy’s Katelyn Chandler in the second half of the girls varsity basketball game Tuesday evening during the Adams County Christian School Girls’ Tip-Off Tournament. (Brittany Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat)

“Any coach will tell you that more games are won and lost at the free-throw line, but that is something we can fix,” Gray said.

Chandler had 22 points for the Lady Tigers, 13 of those resulted in Centreville’s fourth-quarter comeback effort.

Tensas Academy led the entire game, powered by Bailey Keyes’ 14 points and even scoring among the rest of the team.

The game got scrappy early as both teams got themselves in foul trouble, but only Tensas was able to capitalize on any free throw opportunities in the first quarter as Tensas took a 12-8 lead.

Tensas head coach Nicky Pere said they had to change their strategy because of their fouls.

“We tried to play man-to-man, but we had to play zone and it really helped,” he said.

Tensas extended their lead to eight in the second quarter as they outscored the Lady Tigers 11-6 with Hannah James scoring 5 of those 11 points for the Lady Chiefs.

Tensas went into halftime with a 22-14 lead.

But the second half was Centreville’s as they outscored the Lady Chiefs 26-20.

Their run started on Chandler’s steal, which resulted in a lay-up and a foul to inch the Lady Tigers within six with 3:14 remaining in the game.

Though she couldn’t get the three-point play, she made up for it by getting her second consecutive steal. That lay-up attempt resulted in another trip to the line as Chandler was able to sink one of the two buckets to make the score 38-33 with 3 minutes left.

Tensas found a little breathing room when Kelly Strahan and Hali Matthews both scored on consecutive plays.

Lady Chiefs fans thought they could relax with a nine-point lead with 2:30 remaining, but Centreville showed much resilience as a young team as they refused to go away.

Tensas started to stall the ball to close the game out and forced Centreville to foul. Those fouls led to the Lady Tigers being in the double-bonus, which awarded Tensas two free throws even on non-shooting fouls.

Though Matthews missed both of her free throws, Taylor Olds made up for it with a steal and a lay up to give Tensas an 11-point lead with a minute to go.

But Centreville made Tensas play until the end as Katelynn Bell scored the only three-pointer of the night, followed by Chandler’s third steal of the night and lay up with 16 seconds remaining.

But there just didn’t seem to be enough time on the scoreboard for Centreville as they took the loss 45-40.

Pere said he was happy to get the win, but his team has a lot of growing up to do before district play.

“We have six sophomores, were young and we made too many mistakes,” Pere said. “We were just losing the ball when we didn’t have to. We have to grow up, and that will be a maturity thing. They played hard, but not smart.”

Gray, a first-year coach at Tensas, said he was proud of his players’ efforts in the second half and it gave him motivation as a coach.

“That’s what makes you feel good as a coach, that we have a lot of heart,” he said.