Monday notebook: NHS girls coach says team must play better basketball

Published 12:01am Monday, January 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — The Natchez High School Lady Bulldogs are undefeated in district play, but head coach Alphaka Moore wasn’t too pleased with her team’s performance in their last win against Brookhaven High School Friday.

The 57-38 win looked good on the scoreboard, but it was difficult for Moore to watch the game unfold.

“It’s not that we won, it’s how we won,” Moore said. “Even though we won, it wasn’t a good win. It was the worst game of the season.”

The Lady Bulldogs struggled in several aspects of the game against the Lady Panthers. Their turnovers were through the roof, they missed several layups and they couldn’t get their free throws to fall.

Marquita Wallace of Natchez High School dribbles past Brookhaven High School’s Diamond Herring in the first half of the MSHAA Division 6-5A game Friday. NHS defeated Brookhaven, 57-38. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Marquita Wallace of Natchez High School dribbles past Brookhaven High School’s Diamond Herring in the first half of the MSHAA Division 6-5A game Friday. NHS defeated Brookhaven, 57-38. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

Moore said she hopes winning in a situation like that does not give her players a sense of false confidence, because they still have a long way to go if they want to compete for a state championship this season.

“When we can beat teams while playing horrible, it makes you feel like you can give minimal effort and still succeed, but they will see down the road that you can’t beat a good team like that,” she said.

With the many struggles that plagued Natchez Friday, it was the two seniors, Kiana Jones and Marquita Wallace, along with freshman Kirdis Clark, who saved the day.

Jones had a team-high 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 steals, while Wallace put together a six-point fourth-quarter performance that gave the Lady Bulldogs buckets when they needed them the most.

Clark added 13 points and played significant minutes at the point guard position.

“They did things that we needed,” Moore said. “They weren’t rattled (by the situation). They knew they had to step up.”

The Lady Bulldogs will return to the court at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Lanier High School.

Ferriday High School

FERRIDAY — Despite a 5-8 start to the season, Ferriday High School got off to a 1-0 start in district play with a 53-29 win against Sterlington High School Friday.

Head coach Lisa Abron said she’s been preaching to her players it only matters what they do from here on out, and she was pleased with her team’s strong start to its divisional schedule.

“That was my point to them all (last) week,” Abron said. “We’ve been stressing that everyone is now 0-0, and what we do from this point on will determine whether we get in the playoffs.”

But Abron also said she hasn’t changed her approach with her players despite these games “counting” more, though she has talked about not turning the ball over as much.

“Turnovers have hurt us this year,” she said. “We’ve committed several unnecessary turnovers, and there we a lot of close games that we should have won that we didn’t because we turned the ball over toward the end of the game. We need to play smarter and not create so many difficult situations for ourselves.”

Ferriday (6-8) will play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lake Providence High School.

Vidalia High School

VIDALIA — Like Ferriday, Vidalia began district play Friday, but the Lady Vikings lost a low-scoring game to Buckeye High School, 37-19.

Vidalia (3-8, 0-1) will turn its attention to Avoyelles High School for a 6 p.m. game Tuesday, and head coach Fred Marsalis said he’s looking for more consistency from his girls.

“We’re starting three freshmen, and nine of the 12 girls on our team are freshmen, so we just have to get them to play consistent,” Marsalis said.

Marsalis said he knows he’s in the process of trying to build a program, but he thinks his girls are much closer to getting over the hump than some might think.

“Prior to (Friday’s) game, we’ve very much been in the games we’ve played,” Marsalis said. “I think before Friday, our biggest spread was losing by nine points. If we can get them acclimated, we’ll be alright.”