Provine holds off Natchez

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Provine’s Davian Dixon hit one of two free throws with two seconds remaining to give the third-ranked Rams a hard-fought 66-65 win over Natchez here Tuesday in the Divsion 6-5A opener for both teams.

&uot;We just didn’t play very smart,&uot; said Natchez coach Mike Martin. &uot;We made too many mistakes.&uot;

Natchez’s girls started off district play with a 52-45 win over the Lady Rams.

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Dixon’s free throws came after Natchez came back from a 60-47 deficit to tie the game at 63-63 with 1:18 remaining.

Provine’s Markeith Brown hit two free throws to put the Rams up 65-63 with 1:03 remaining.

A basket by Natchez’s David Haywood, who sat out most of the second half in foul trouble, hit a basket with 16 seconds left to tie the game at 65-65.

Natchez forced a turnover with seven seconds remaining and Haywood was fouled with five seconds.

Haywood missed the first free throw and Brown got the rebound.

Carl Minor got his hands on the ball, but was called for a foul, sending Brown to the line for two shots. He missed the first shot and hit the second. Provine intercepted a long pass to end the game.

Provine, 4-0, appeared ready to run away from Natchez on several occasions, but the Bulldogs would claw back each time.

Provine jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Natchez got on the board with 4:53 remaining in the opening period as Haywood hit a basket.

Provine led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Natchez, 4-2, pulled to within 22-21 before the Rams pulled back ahead 28-21, leading 34-29 at halftime.

A basket by Haywood gave Natchez its first lead at 42-41 with 4:29 remaining in the third period.

The Bulldogs used a 3-pointer by Jamal Bouldin, and two by Haywood to pull to within 41-40.

Provine led 52-47 at the end of three quarters.

Provine scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter before Natchez battled back.

Haywood led Natchez with 20 points, while Bouldin added 15 and Vaughn Newborne 10.

Brown led Provine with 23, while Ole Miss signee Justin Reed added 18 and Sandrell Spann netted 15.

Natchez’s Lady Bulldogs (3-3) jumped ahead of Provine 15-4, but Provine cut the lead to 25-16 at halftime.

The Lady Rams pulled to within 38-33 in the third quarter, but Natchez outscored Provine 14-12 in the final period.

&uot;Our defense wasn’t working as well as it needed to be, but it got better at the end,&uot; said Natchez coach Mary Irving. &uot;It’s good to get that first district game, especially at home. This will give us some confidence.&uot;

Chrystal Sylvester scored 14 for Natchez, while Christen West added 13 and Nicole Jones 12.

Natchez will compete in the All State &uot;Good Hands&uot; Classic in West Monroe, La., beginning Thursday. The Bulldogs face West Monroe at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Bulldogs face West Monroe’s girls team on Saturday.