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NHS boys, girls remain undefeated

Published 12:03am Saturday, December 21, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Natchez High School boys stayed undefeated as they ran through Pearl River Central High School 64-39 in their district opener.

De’Arius Griffin had a game-high 24 points for the Bulldogs, and Daryl Jones added 14 points while Gary Woods tallied 13.

NHS assistant coach David Haywood said he talked to his players about starting their divisional season off right, and he believes they’ve accomplished that with Friday’s win.

Natchez High School’s Dominique Mazique (30) jumps to grab the rebound before Pearl River Central’s Tristan Tate (12) and Terek Whitehead (15) can pull it down during the second half of their MHSAA Division 6-5A game Friday. NHS won, 64-39. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High School’s Dominique Mazique (30) jumps to grab the rebound before Pearl River Central’s Tristan Tate (12) and Terek Whitehead (15) can pull it down during the second half of their MHSAA Division 6-5A game Friday. NHS won, 64-39. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

“I told them to go out and play the best game we have played this year, and I think we did that,” Haywood said.

The Bulldogs came out in a strong man-to-man defense, though they couldn’t generate any quick points until the 5:03 mark of the first quarter on two free throws by Griffin.

At the four-minute mark, Jones turned defense into offense with a steal at half court and a pull-up jumper before getting the rebound on the next possession and going coast-to-coast for a lay up to jump the Bulldogs ahead 7-2.

Pearl River Central gained a little momentum when Terek Whitehead brought the Blue Devils within one point with a dunk in traffic with two minutes left in the quarter, 7-6.

The Bulldogs went into the second quarter up 11-9 before turning up their offense to tally 18 points on Woods’ six points in the quarter.

NHS went into halftime ahead 29-19, and a 12-6 run in the third quarter extended that lead to 41-25 despite Pearl River Central’s 5-0 run with two minutes left to end the quarter 41-25.

But NHS still had a lot of firepower left with its highest scoring quarter yet to come in the fourth. The Lady Bulldogs tallied 23 points to end the game 64-39.

Haywood said the fourth quarter was successful because of the contributions of every player on the court.

“We had to play together and make it easier for each other, because you can’t do it by yourself,” he said. “You have to do it as a collective group.”

The Bulldogs will head into the Christmas break 10-0 and will return to the court Thursday in the Coca-Cola Tournament in Hattiesburg,

Natchez NHS 67, Pearl River Central girls 30

NATCHEZ — The Lady Bulldogs continued to punish teams on the court with a 67-30 victory against the Lady Blue Devils Friday.

Rashonae Rice led Natchez with 16 points, and Zyaire Ewing followed with 15 points, all of which were scored in the first half of the game.

NHS got off to a quick start as they depended on their aggressive full-court press to limit the Lady Blue Devils to just three points in the first quarter, while the Lady Bulldogs tallied 21 points.

Rice accounted for 11 of those points, while Ewing took over in the second quarter with nine points.

The second quarter wasn’t much better for Pearl River Central, as they only scored two points off of free throws by Claire Lumpkin.

NHS head coach Alphaka Moore said her players played sound defense in the first half to start their district run the right way.

“We have refined our defense even more, and the girls just got after it,” she said.

Up 44-5 at half time, Natchez head coach Alphaka Moore sat her starting players the remainder of the game, yet the Lady Bulldogs continued their same dominance to win the game 67-30.

Though the Lady Bulldogs got a big division win at home, Moore said they must continue to practice with one goal in mind — to get better.

“My mindset is the same as it was before we even played; it’s no different,” Moore said.

The Lady Bulldogs will play again Thursday in the Coca-Cola Tournament in Hattiesburg.