NHS comes up short to national power

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2001

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ozen High of Beaumont, Texas, ranked fifth in a nationwide media poll, remained undefeated as it held off a second-half Natchez High rally to defeat the Bulldogs 42-36 Friday night in the second round of the 2001 Holiday Hoops Classic Friday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Even though Natchez was playing a team that had went 36-0 and won the state championship last season, NHS forward Je’Kel Foster said its opponent’s record didn’t really matter to the Bulldogs.

&uot;We always play positive no matter what the record is,&uot; he said.

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Foster finished with 15 points, including 4-for-6 from three-point range.&uot;They were giving me the shots, and I was taking them down,&uot; he said. &uot;It was a war out there.&uot;

Ozen’s big man, 6-11 junior center Kendrick Perkins, had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals as Ozen improved to 12-0.

Ozen jumped out to a 23-15 halftime lead, but the Bulldogs (14-3) kept chipping away at the margin.

&uot;We brought the game within two with five minutes left in the second half,&uot; Foster said.

However, that was as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way. At the three minute mark, Natchez blew a layup that would have tied the game. The inability to get to the free throw line and poor shooting from the field did in Natchez.

The Bulldogs took just three free throws, making all of them, and were just 14-of-43 (32.6 percent) from the field. Ozen was 17-for-45 (37.8 percent) from the field and hit 6-of-10 from the line.

Natchez High will next play in the third place game against Victory Christan of Tulsa, Okla., at 6:30 p.m. today.

Victory Christian dropped a second-round contest to Ridgeway High of Memphis, Tenn.

&uot;Our post defense did a good job on their big guy to keep his scoring down,&uot; Foster said.

NHS turned the ball over 10 times, to OHS’ six.

The Bulldogs only used a six-man rotation. Vasshun Newborne logged seven points, eight rbounds, two assists, one block and a pair of steals.

2001 Holiday Hoops Classic in Fayetteville, Ark.

Ozen 42, Natchez 36 OHS 23 19 – 42 NHS 15 21 – 36

Ozen: Kendrick Perkins – 17; Brandon Chappell – 9; Keena Young – 8; Javin Clover – 3; Jason Dabney – 2; Wesley Bryant – 2; Rayburn Morris – 1 Natchez: Je’Kel Foster – 16; Vasshun Newborne – 7; Burton Broudy – 6; Derek Jarvis – 4; Chris Logan – 3