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Cathedral boys fend off Piney Woods, hold on for 50-48 win

James Alan Coley of Cathedral shoots a layup in the second half of the MHSAA Division 7-1A game against Piney Woods School Tuesday. Cathedral won, 50-48, and Coley finished with 10 points and 17 rebounds. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
James Alan Coley of Cathedral shoots a layup in the second half of the MHSAA Division 7-1A game against Piney Woods School Tuesday. Cathedral won, 50-48, and Coley finished with 10 points and 17 rebounds. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — After a mishap on an inbounds play, the Cathedral High School boys basketball team saw its chance to escape with a key divisional win slipping away Tuesday night.

Instead of rolling over, though, the Green Wave kept Piney Woods at bay in the final six seconds, preventing the Tornadoes from taking a shot and coming away with a 50-48 win.

With approximately 14 seconds left in regulation, Cathedral was playing keepaway from Piney Woods before the ball was forced out of bounds by the Tornadoes. One more foul by Piney Woods would have triggered the bonus, and Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold said he wanted the ball in Alex Weadock’s hands, since Weadock is the team’s best free throw shooter, Arnold said.

But the ball was lost in the exchange and instead ended up in Piney Woods’ hands. After a fight for possession, Piney Woods came down with the ball and called time out with six seconds left, giving the Tornadoes the chance to at least tie the game.

“(Weadock) was supposed to go to Jardarius (Anderson, who was inbounding the ball), and he did, and his path was cut off, and he veered off, and then he made a poor inbound pass and they stole the ball,” Arnold said.

Cathedral went to man defense in the final seconds, determined not to let Piney Woods’ Shannon Lewis get any good looks. And the Green Wave rose to the task, as Piney Woods was unable to get Lewis the ball until approximately three seconds left. Lewis couldn’t maintain control of the ball after that, letting the buzzer go off without so much as a field goal attempt.

“We put James Alan (Coley) on him and said, ‘Just deny him everything you can,’” Arnold said. “Fortunately, it took long enough for them to try to get him the ball that he was feeling the pressure of the time constraints, and he was trying to catch it and throw it up really quick, and he just couldn’t do it.”

Cathedral led 46-34 with just less than four minutes to go in regulation, but the Green Wave were outscored 14-4 in the final stretch. Arnold blamed Piney Woods’ late-game surge on poor decision-making.

“We made several mistakes when we had like an eight- or nine-point lead,” Arnold said. “We were forcing stuff where, if you don’t have a clear path to the basket when you have an eight-point lead, you need to keep the ball out front and just exchange it between the guards. We forced some passes and some shots that gave them the opportunity to go down and score, which they did.”

Cathedral led 31-21 at the half.

Coley finished with a double-double, tallying 10 points and 17 rebounds. Anderson led the Green Wave in scoring with 13 points, while Weadock chipped in with 12 points. For Piney Woods, Lewis had 18 points, and Dante Hines scored 16 points.

Cathedral rose to 8-10 overall, 5-3 in MHSAA Division 7-1A play.

Cathedral girls 66, Piney Woods 12

The Lady Green Wave’s entire roster saw some playing time as Cathedral blew out Piney Woods, 66-12.

Caroline Smith had 13 points for the Lady Green Wave, and McKenzie Milligan added 10 points. A total of 15 Cathedral players ended the game in the scoring column.

“This year Piney Woods is down,” Cathedral girls coach Randy Smith said. “Last year we had to play them three times, and every game was very close. They lost some of their star power, so they’re rebuilding.”

Cathedral (10-9, 3-4) will play at the Mississippi School for the Deaf today.