Lanier’s intensive press forces NHS to loss column

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2001

The Lanier Bulldogs built a decisive margin in the first half at the free throw line. They maintained it in the second with a tenacious full-court pressure defense.


Lanier used plenty of that and got an 18-point 12-rebound effort inside from Monta Ellis to put away the Natchez High Bulldogs, 64-52, in front a jam-packed NHS gym in Friday night hoop action.

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The loss dropped Natchez to a 9-2 record.

&uot;That’s the type of ball that we play, that’s our style,&uot; said Lanier head coach Thomas Billups, who steered the Bulldogs (10-3) to the Class 4A runner-up spot last season.

And although Billups, lost three starters off that squad, his youthful bunch was still able to force nearly 30 turnovers, with 17 of those coming off steals.

The ultra-quick LHS Bulldogs guards stayed in the Natchez passing lanes all night long and in many instances, it paid off with easy buckets.

But that wasn’t to say the host Bulldogs weren’t competitive.

Down by as many as 14 on a couple of instances, Mike Martin’s squad showed heart and went on an early run in the final frame to trim the lead to 56-50 at the 2:56 mark on a stickback by Vasshun Newborne, who paced the Natchez attack with 19 points and six boards.

But the Bulldogs couldn’t maintan the charge and some clutch baskets by Denaldo Bennett, who finished with 14, settled the issue. Je’Kell Foster chipped in with 10, including several baskets during the second half momentum swing.

&uot;We just couldn’t get it going tonight when we needed to,&uot; Foster said of a sluggish start. &uot;Anytime you let a good team like this come out and dictate the tempo then you get into trouble.&uot; Unfortunately, the Bulldogs don’t have very long to brood over this one, because the No.2-ranked Clinton Arrows will hit town on Monday.

&uot;We have to put this one behind us and move on,&uot; Newborne said. &uot;We got outplayed, but we now know what to expect.&uot;

Natchez girls 56, Lanier 41

Mary Irving’s wasted no time in setting the tone in this one, vaulting out to a nine-point lead at the break and building on it the rest of the way.

Crystal D. Brown paced the Lady Bulldog’s offensive attack with a 17-point output, while Angel Taylor added 10.

Irving’s squad, who limited Lanier to just five points out of the gate, improved to 9-2.

Toni Logan chipped in with seven points, while Karmethia Mazique and Chrystal Sylvester each had six. Lanier, who dropped to 3-7, got 10 from Dominic Crawford.

Lanier 66, Natchez 52

Lanier 18 18 14 16 66 Natchez 12 12 19 9 52

Lanier: Monta Ellis – 18; Denaldo Bennett – 14; Jonathan Blackmon – 8; Sean Johnson – 7; Issac Wells – 7; Eric Williams – 6; Brian Jones – 4 Natchez: Vasshun Newborne – 19; Je’Kel Foster – 10; Derrick Martin – 8; Derek Jarvis – 6; Brian Williams – 4; Burton Broudy – 3; Chris Logan – 2

Natchez – 9-2 overall

Natchez girls 56, Lanier 41

Lanier 5 12 10 14 41 Natchez 10 16 15 15 56

Natchez: Crystal D. Brown – 17; Angel Taylor – 10; Toni Logan – 7; Karmethia Mazique – 6; Chrystal Sylvester – 6; Richaye Curtis – 3; Quantrita Marsaw – 3; Gloria Lewis – 2; Christen West – 2 Lanier: Dominic Crawford – 10; April Sanders – 10; Mary Osbourne – 4; Deonelia Kelly – 4; Candace Bingham – 4; Kandra Johnson – 2; Leah Bingham – 2; Tandra Johnson – 1

Natchez – 9-2 overall