Lady Bulldogs down Oak Grove; Saints win

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

HATTIESBURG &045; When the holiday break hit and the Lady Bulldogs started thinking of the Hattiesburg tournament, they weren’t thinking of getting back where they were.

Try starting over.

The first two months of the season resulted in a 2-7 record, and they opened the tournament Monday with a loss to Hazlehurst. But Tuesday’s 66-56 win over Oak Grove is a starting point to get things going in the right direction.

Email newsletter signup

The Lady Bulldogs will play their final game of the tournament at 8 a.m. today against Tylertown.

&uot;Everybody looked at this Hattiesburg tournament as a time to come together as a team and figure out where we were going in our season,&uot; said forward Delequa Drake, who had 14 points. &uot;It feels great to get the win and hope it helps us get ready for district. That’s where it counts.&uot;

The message was driven home in the fourth quarter when the Lady Bulldogs held a 22-9 edge to take the win. The Lady Warriors held a 47-44 lead heading into the fourth when the Lady Bulldogs started to go inside to Drake and others in the post for points.

Drake finished with 14 points as one of four Natchez players in double figures. Jasmine Woods led all scorers with 16.

&uot;Jas got injured early in the fourth or late in the third, and I knew I had to step it up,&uot; Drake said. &uot;We had a lot of help from Kamesha Sproulls. She stepped up on the board and scoring. We had to stop them. They weren’t afraid to shoot the outside shot.&uot;

Give the Lady Warriors credit for knocking down shots early and taking the lead. They took a 17-14 lead by the end of the first and outscored Natchez 19-16 in the second to hold the 36-30 lead at halftime.

That’s when the Lady Bulldogs switched from a 2-3 zone to a 3-2 to defend the perimeter better, and it took away a good bit of the Lady Warriors’ game.

&uot;They were getting a lot of outside shots,&uot; Woods said. &uot;They weren’t afraid to shoot it and were knocking it down. Our defense was kind of sluggish, but we picked it up in the second half. We tried to work the ball in and played aggressive defense. (Drake) did well in the fourth quarter.&uot;

Trinity boys 41, Benton 34

FLOWOOD &045; Already down one spark plug, the Trinity Episcopal Saints had to find some firepower somewhere at the tough University Christian School tournament.

Enter Stevan Ridley, Ryan Rachal and Zach Rogel to help pick up the slack for point guard Gregory Ketchings. Ridley and Rachal manned the point for most of the three games, and Rachal and Rogel provided some instrumental defense late in the Saints’ win over Benton Academy in the consolation final.

The Raiders held a 30-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Saints (6-6) turned it up a notch and took the seven-point win.

&uot;We had a little heart-to-heart (talk) there at the end of the third,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;We were a little sluggish at the end of the third quarter. We stepped up the tempo on defense and pushed the ball up the court. Ryan and Zach really defended well in the fourth. I thought Ryan’s and Zach’s defense on their guards was instrumental, and that turned the momentum around.&uot;

The Saints battled from that seven-point deficit in the fourth to take the lead midway through the fourth. Rogel came through with six crucial free throws near the end to ice it as the Saints held an 18-4 edge in the fourth quarter for the win.

The Raiders came alive in the second quarter with a 15-9 edge to take a 17-11 halftime lead. They then outscored the Saints 13-8 in the third quarter.

&uot;They played hard,&uot; King said. &uot;The kids are still learning each other, and I think they’re getting better every time out. They played so doggone hard and kept themselves in the game. Stevan and Ryan both took turns at the point, and we’ll have Gregory back after the break. I like where we are right now. I think we’re ready to push up a big district run in the month of January.&uot;

Post Robert Manson led the Saints with 20 points, while Rogel and Rachal each had eight. Nick Stafford led Benton with 14 points.