Natchez girls win division game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Natchez High’s Lady Bulldogs used its quickness on defense to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and defeat Forest Hill 61-47 in the first round of the Division 6-5A Tournament at Natchez High Tuesday.

The Lady Bulldogs will face Jackson Provine Friday at 6 p.m.

Provine’s girls defeated Jim Hill 66-30.

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Forest Hill jumped ahead of Natchez by 10 twice in the first quarter, with the Lady Bulldogs cutting the lead to six twice.

Forest Hill led 17-7 after one quarter.

Forest Hill went up 21-9 on a basket by Robyn Boyd.

A 3-pointer by Jakeisha Hawkins, and another basket by Hawkins pulled the Lady Bulldogs to within 21-16.

But Forest Hill went on another spurt, taking advantage of Natchez missing easy shots under the basket for a 28-18 lead.

&uot;We haven’t missed that many easy shots in a long time,&uot; said Natchez coach Mary Irving. &uot;I think we came out a little too nervous.&uot;

Crystal Sylvester and Christen West pulled Natchez to within 28-22, but Forest Hill pulled ahead 32-22 at halftime.

&uot;I told the girls I wasn’t ready to go home,&uot; Irving said, referring to the fact that the loser ends its season.

Baskets by Angel Taylor and Sylvester and two free throws by West pulled Natchez to within 34-30.

Taylor added a basket to cut the margin to two points and scored with 3:19 remaining in the third period to tie the game at 34-34.

Akei Jones nailed a free throw to give Natchez the lead at 35-34.

&uot;That gave us a boost when we got ahead,&uot; West said.

But Donna Moore made two free throws to give Forest Hill a 39-37 lead at the end of the period.

The contest was tied four different times in the final period.

Two free throws each by Sylvester and Hawkins put Natchez up 49-45.

Forest Hill would pull to within 49-47 with 2:42 remaining, but would not score another point as Natchez’s defense, led by five steals by West, shut the Lady Rebels down.

&uot;We had to keep up the pressure,&uot;&160;Irving said. &uot;We couldn’t let up.&uot;

&uot;I knew we had to step it up because we were in trouble,&uot; West said.

Taylor hit four free throws over the final 1:40 to help Natchez to a 61-47 win.

Natchez, 9-20, was led by West with 15 points. Sylvester and Hawkins added 12 each.

Boyd led Forest Hill (13-16) with 10.

The winner of the Natchez-Provine game will host a first round South State game Monday. The loser goes on the road.