Lady Bulldogs hammer VHS, sit tied for first

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The Lady Bulldogs were just toying with Vicksburg.

The slow, painful demise is always the worst, isn’t it?

The Missy Gators (12-11, 2-3 division 4-5A) saw their bucket lead they clung to for an entire half rapidly disappear when Natchez High threw in its press defense to open the third period.

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Four straight Vicksburg turnovers and successive Crystal L. Brown baskets vaulted the Lady Bulldogs (19-2, 3-2 4-5A) ahead to a lead they never surrendered in a 61-48 victory Friday.

&uot;We feel like if we work hard on defense and create problems, everything else will fall into place,&uot; said Jasmine Woods, who scored 10 in a backup role. &uot;The offense will come to us if we play defense.&uot;

Brown led all scorers with 17, despite missing almost of the first half due to early foul trouble.

She began to make her presence known in the third period during a 17-4 run where she scored 10 points.

&uot;I picked up three fouls in the first quarter which cause me to miss all of the second,&uot; Brown said of her early struggles. &uot;I had to come out in the second half and play like I know how to play.&uot;

Brown set the tone early in the second half when she scored eight straight points to turn a 29-27 halftime deficit into a 35-29 Natchez lead with 4:33 to play in the third period.

When interim head coach Sue Johnson open the final 16 with a fullcourt press, the Miss Gators appeared out of sync.

Vicksburg became careless with the ball, turning the ball over on ill-advised passes and violations.

&uot;The press got to us there in the second half,&uot; said Missy Gators head coach Mike Coleman. &uot;We started jumping in the air and making passes and you just cannot do that.

&uot;We just didn’t respond well in the third after we lost the lead.&uot;

Things couldn’t have started out more promising for Coleman’s club when Tiffany Hubbard dominated the low post against a lethargic Lady Bulldog defense.

Hubbard tallied eight of her team-high 16 in the first period, as the Missy Gators led by as many as five, 13-8, with 1:12 to play on a pair of Tricia Dart free throws.

&uot;After her start she didn’t get to play much until the end because of foul trouble,&uot; Coleman said of Hubbard. &uot;She was great when she was in there, but the fouls caught up to her.&uot;

In fact Hubbard went scoreless in the second and third periods before she scored another eight in the fourth mostly from the charity stripe.

Woods was inserted into the lineup late in the first after Brown picked up her third foul with 1:40 to play.

She knocked down two of four freebies in the period’s final minute, but found her place in the second period underneath the basket.

The Missy Gators were unable to stop Woods, who went for eight in the quarter.

&uot;It’s good to know that when I have to go to the bench there is somebody to back me up like Jasmine,&uot; Brown said. &uot;She was called on to fill in and she did just as good as I usually do.&uot;

Vicksburg boys 51, Natchez 30

NATCHEZ &045; I went to a Vicksburg-Natchez High basketball game Friday and I Roy Williams show broke out.

The Gators’ off-guard dropped in all 13 first period points for Vicksburg (17-6, 4-1 division 4-5A) as the Gators were tested, but ensure themselves of the No. 1 seed in the division 4-5A tournament with a 51-30 win over Natchez.

Williams finished with 17 to lead all scorers in a game that had no flow to whatsoever.

&uot;Once we came out strong, we could tell they were shell-shocked,&uot; Williams said. &uot;They stopped attacking us on offense and backed away from us on defense.&uot;

After trailing by nine at the end of one, the Bulldogs battled back to cut their deficit to two, 17-15, with 2:45 before the break on a Brian Williams’ basket to cap a 9-0 run.

Natchez (8-13, 1-4 4-5A) never tied it up, though, as the Gators built on a 10-point third quarter lead in the fourth on outside shooting and made free throws.

&uot;We just had an off-night shooting the ball,&uot; said Williams, who led Natchez with eight points. &uot;We were ready for this game, but we just finished sluggish.&uot;

Sedrick Williams, who finished with 14, connected on two of his four 3-pointers in the fourth

The second of which gave his team a 20-point lead, 42-22, with 4:09 to play.