Natchez seeks advantage at home

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2000

Advancing to South State has only been a dream for members of the Natchez High boys basketball team.

They are hoping the advantage of playing on their home court will help fulfill that dream this year.

Natchez hosts the Division 6-5A Baskeball Tournament, with first round action scheduled for today.

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Natchez’s girls face Forest Hill at 7 p.m., while Natchez’s boys meet Forest Hill at 8:30 p.m.

In other first round action, Provine’s girls face Jim Hill at 4 p.m., followed by Provine vs. Jim Hill boys at 5:30 p.m.

Natchez High’s boys and girls split with Forest Hill during the regular season.

Today’s winners advance to the finals and the first round of the South State Tournament.

Friday’s winners host the first round contest.

Natchez’s boys have lost out in the first round the last two years.

&uot;We’ve got to be a step quicker and every part of our game needs to be raised another notch,&uot; said Natchez senior David Haywood. &uot;We’ve played a tough schedule, and that should help us out. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and playing before the home crowd should help us.&uot;

Edwin Harris said hosting the division tournament is exciting.

&uot;We are going to have to play good defense for 32 minutes each game,&uot; he said. &uot;We have to set the tempo early. This is the most important game all year. We’ll have the fans behind us and that will help.&uot;

Jovon Edwards said the Bulldogs need to put together all of the hard work they’ve done all year and put it together in this tournament.

&uot;This team plays better together than any team I’ve been on the last three years,&uot; he said. &uot;Going to state tournament would make everything complete after missing out the last two years.&uot;

Jamal Bouldin said he believes the Bulldogs have an edge playing at home.

&uot;We know where to shoot from on the court and we’re comfortable on our court,&uot; Bouldin said. &uot;I think we play better at home. And we’ll have all of our fans supporting us, which will boost our confidence.&uot;

Demetries Minor said the team has to play hard and smart.

&uot;It’s going to take a total team effort,&uot; Edwards said. &uot;We have to do everything we can to get to the state tournament.&uot;

Carl Minor said it will take one of the top efforts of the year.

&uot;It’s going to take more hustle and we have to be ready to play,&uot;&160;Minor said. We’re facing some good teams.&uot;

Natchez High girls coach Mary Irving said turnovers will be the key to the Lady Bulldog-Lady Rebel contest.

&uot;Forest Hill is quick and turnovers will be the issue,&uot; she said. &uot;If we can play ball control, I don’t think we’ll have a problem. If we keep our composure we should be all right. What’s hurt us during the year is turnovers down the stretch.&uot;

The finals will be held Friday at Natchez High.

The champion will host a South State game next week, while the second place team will travel in a first-round contest.

The winners of those games will advance to the South State Tournament.