NHS girls face No. 1 Columbus

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 16, 2003

Somebody has to get the unenviable task of facing a powerhouse in the first round.

For undefeated and top-ranked Columbus, its first-round draw will be Natchez.

The Lady Falcons stormed through the Division 2 tournament to finish the season 24-0. They will draw the Lady Bulldogs, who enter the Class 5A playoffs as prep basketball playoffs begin in the MHSAA.

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Game time is 6 p.m. today in Columbus.

&uot;They’re undefeated, and that’s all I know,&uot; Natchez High head coach Mary Irving said. &uot;They have some good shooters, and I don’t know anything about their defense.&uot;

Right about now the Lady Bulldogs may be more concerned about themselves after playing uncharacteristic ball during the division tournament.

They had to fight to fend off Clinton in the opening round, and Warren Central pulled away in the second half to take the upset win over the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs (23-4).

Warren Central opens the playoffs at home against Tupelo.

&uot;Realizing that this could be their last game, I hope they are up for it,&uot; Irving said of her club. &uot;We had a good practice today and were focused on some things. It all depends on them. We’ve had a long road and a good season. We need top continue playing like we’ve been playing all year.

&uot;I’m looking forward to playing the kind of ball we’ve been playing because any team can be beat. That’s my hope right now.&uot;

In other action tonight, Wilkinson County’s girls travel to West Lauderdale in what is believed to be their first trip to the playoffs in more than 10 years.

The Lady Wildcats, the No. 2 seed out of Division 7, will travel to face Division 5 champion WLHS at 7 p.m. tonight.

&uot;They’re a team like Jefferson County &045; a pretty physical,&uot; WC head coach Edwin White said. &uot;I think we can probably match up with them. I know they’ve got a big girl that can score a lot of points and a young girl that shoots pretty well from the outside. We’ll take our chances.&uot;

The playoff appearance marks the pinnacle of the Lady Wildcats’ season after pulling the upset of top-seeded Jefferson County to land in the division tournament final.

And it’s not only about this year. The Lady Wildcats (12-20) have increased their win totals in the three seasons under White, who came over from Ferriday to take the job in Woodville.

&uot;We’re finally jelling,&uot; White said. &uot;I think the division tournament was a good experience for them. We’re just trying to build, and that’s basically what we’re doing. Everything is a learning experience right now.&uot;

Over in MPSA, state tournament brackets are set with action starting today in Class A and Tuesday in Class AA and AAA.

Action begins tonight in the 12-team Class A state tournament at Greenville Christian School, but Trinity Episcopal’s boys won’t get play until Thursday. The saints will get the winner of the Strider Academy-CM&I winner at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

In Class AAA, Adams County Christian School’s Rebels will play at 5:30 p.m Tuesday against Lee Academy of Clarksdale. The Rebels enter as the No. 2 seed from the South and draw Lee, the No. 3 seed from the North.

Centreville’s Lady Tigers open the Class AA tournament at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Leake Academy at Brookhaven. The Lady Tigers are the No. 4 seed from the South after dropping the consolation game in the South State tournament Saturday to Simpson Academy.

Over in Louisiana, there’s no word yet on when Vidalia’s Vikings will play McCall in a tie-breaker game to determine the top two spots out of District 3-2A.

The girls’ playoff pairings will be released this week as Ferriday will draw a wild card to open up. Block’s Lady Bears will face the runner-up out of District 6.