Sophomore leads Natchez to Jim Hill win

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 13, 2002

NATCHEZ &045; Natchez’s Deliqua Drake got a nice surprise after shootarounds before Friday’s win over Jim Hill.

The sophomore got notified she’d make her first start as a Lady Bulldog since she’s joined the varsity team.

And Drake made head coach Mary Irving look like a genius, leading all scorers with 14 points in a 59-28 victory.

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&uot;I was shocked coach started me tonight, but I knew it was my time to shine,&uot; Drake said. &uot;It was up to me to pick up the pace.&uot;

Eleven different Lady Bulldogs (9-1) scored in the contest, but only Drake found ways to score in the third period when Jim Hill had sliced into the lead.

Coming out of halftime with a 16-point lead, Natchez was nowhere to be found for the first four minutes of the third, as a Sherrion Thomas’ basket cut it to 33-24 with 3:50 to play.

Drake, who sat out during the Lady Bulldogs’ struggles, was subbed in at a timeout and sent Natchez on a 8-0 run in less than two minutes to build the lead back into double digits, 41-24.

She commanded the paint and caused matchup problems for Jim Hill’s smaller lineup.

&uot;She’s doing well to step up as a sophomore,&uot; Irving said. &uot;She’s going to help us a lot farther down the road. It’s good to have such depth.&uot;

The fourth period saw a revamped and re-energized Natchez team on both ends of the court.

The Lady Bulldogs yielded just one basket on defense and executed to perfection in their halfcourt offense.

Karmethia Mazique threaded the Lady Tigers’ defense, penetrating to the middle and dishing the ball off to her teammates in the post time and time again.

Mazique had five assists in the quarter and finished with eight for the game on an off-shooting night.

&uot;I wasn’t scoring points, so I knew I had to get the ball inside to our big men,&uot; Mazique said. &uot;I just did what my coach told me too.&uot;

Thomas led the Lady Tigers with 10 points.

Jim Hill (0-11) head coach Stanley Jimmerson said the Lady Tigers are building for the future.

&uot;This is a little squad made up of ninth graders that may not be comfortable yet,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re learning every ball game, but we just cannot score.&uot;

As is custom with the Lady Bulldogs they came out aggressive early in the opening period to get the upper hand.

Natchez forced Jim Hill to turn the ball over on five of its first six possessions of the game.

&uot;I like the fast-paced game,&uot; Mazique said. &uot;When we slow down, we get lazy. We’re faster than most teams and as they get tired we’re good to go.&uot;

After the two teams traded baskets to open the second period, there was a scoring lull until Winnifer Noble’s layup with 4:50 remaining doubled Jim Hill up, 28-14.

The Lady Tigers took full advantage of the Natchez team’s dozing in the third as they scored seven straight points before Drake returned to the court.

&uot;We started off real well, but got stuck on 33 for a while,&uot; Mazique said. &uot;But we got ourselves together.&uot;

Irving, who complimented Mazique on her vision of the court, said the Lady Bulldogs are not where they need to be on defense.

That’s the most important facet Drake feels needs to improve in her game.

&uot;I definitely could get quicker with my feet on defense and produce a little more on offense,&uot; Drake said. &uot;But I’m doing all right as a sophomore.&uot;