Natchez cuts down Forest Hill Rebels

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

Natchez High handed Forest Hill its first loss in Division 6-5A, defeating the Rebels 73-60 here Friday.

Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker, 60-56 in overtime.

In the boys game, both teams came out cold as the contest was tied at 7-7 with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter.

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Natchez’s David Haywood hit an NBA-range 3-pointer at the buzzer to put Natchez up 12-11 at the end of the quarter.

Irvin Baker came off the Natchez bench and hit three quick baskets and Demetries Minor added two free throws to keep Natchez even with the Rebels.

&uot;Our bench did a great job,&uot; said Natchez coach Mike Martin. &uot;Our starters were well rested near the end of the game and that made a difference.&uot;

Jamal Bouldin nailed a field goal and 3-pointer to push the Bulldogs up 30-24.

Natchez, 13-6 overall and 2-2 in division play, led 36-30 at halftime.

Haywood scored nine of his 26 points in the third quarter, including hitting a three pointer as the Bulldogs led 56-43 after three periods.

&uot;The first half I really didn’t play up to my potential,&uot; Haywood said. &uot;My shot was not falling. So I just went after the rebound and found ways to score. When I hit the 3-pointer it gave me a lot of confidence.&uot;

Forest Hill fought back to within 66-57 with 4:03 remaining in the game, but Carl Minor hit a basket and two straight free throws to put the Bulldogs back up 71-59.

&uot;We had to get more aggressive,&uot; said Minor, who took an elbow to the mouth in the first quarter. &uot;They were boxing out pretty good so coach just told us to hit the boards hard.&uot;

Bouldin followed Haywood with 11 points.

Forest Hill was led by Martez Hopkins with 16 and Ronnie Bolden with 15.

Both senior guards are being heavily recruited. Bolden is a cousin of former Forest Hill and Texas Southern standout Randy Bolden.

In the girls contest, Natchez fought back from a 43-38 deficit with 3:18 remaining to take a 48-45 lead on two free throws by Tremeka Montgomery with four seconds remaining.

With two seconds left, Forest Hill threw the ball the length of the floor and Lady Bulldog Crystal Sylvester ran it down, but couldn’t stop so she was called for traveling.

Forest Hill’s Jerquila Slaughter came off a pick and caught the ball near the baseline and drilled it at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

&uot;I told the girls not to leave anybody open and the biggest girl got open,&uot; said Natchez coach Mary Irving.

The Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead 52-50 in overtime on two free throws by Sylvester, but Forest Hill took a 56-54 lead with 1:18 to play.

Two free throws by Victoria Johnson with five seconds remaining sealed the win for Forest Hill.

Nicole Beacey led the Lady Rebels (8-12, 2-2) with 21 points, while Donna Moore added 12.

Sylvester netted 16 for Natchez (2-2 in district), while Jakeisha Hawkins added 12.

Forest Hill led 22-20 at halftime.

Natchez plays at Jefferson County Tuesday.