Bulldogs can’t stop Williams, Missy Gators’ press too much

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

Natchez tried to play keep-away from Vicksburg’s Sedrick Williams in the fourth quarter, but in the end the Gators escaped with a 51-46 win over the Division 6-5A rival Bulldogs on Tuesday night.

Sedrick Williams cracked 20 points for the third straight game to lead the Gators (9-13, 2-3) to their second straight division win.

Despite intense pressure, Williams scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter.

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&uot;Coming down the stretch, (Natchez) tried their best to keep the ball out (Williams’) hands,&uot; VHS head coach Dellie Robinson said.

With a tenacious full-court press, the Bulldogs led a charge that got them back in the game, but they fell just short.

Vicksburg led 45-33 with 2:46 remaining, but Natchez (6-10, 1-4) went on a 13-3 run sparked by turnovers from the press.

&uot;Ballhandling is suspect on our part,&uot; Robinson said. &uot;And everybody knows that our ballhandling is suspect. We struggle with that. We’ve been fortunate the last two nights to find a way to win basketball games.&uot;

Natchez guard Tryon Wilson scored seven points during the run, including a fast-break layup that cut Vicksburg’s lead to 48-46 with a minute left.

The Gators were able to milk the clock, forcing the Bulldogs to foul and send them to the free-throw line.

&uot;We weren’t playing team ball at all,&uot; said Natchez forward Marvin Stampley, who finished with six points and a team-high seven rebounds. &uot;We tried to get in at the end, but we just couldn’t get there.&uot;

Natchez struggled on offense from the opening buzzer.

Led by Williams, Vicksburg jumped out to a 15-3 first-quarter lead as the Bulldogs shot 1 of 11 from the field.

Williams started strong as usual for the Gators with eight points in first eight minutes.

The Bulldogs’ shooting woes continued through the second quarter &045; 25 percent from the field at halftime &045; but they managed to keep the game close at 21-15.

&uot;(Vicksburg) just lost confidence,&uot; Stampley said. &uot;They were just shooting it to be shooting it. They weren’t shooting for any purpose.&uot;

Natchez cut the lead to 21-19 early in the third quarter, but Vicksburg stretched it again when Williams hit a 3-pointer and followed it with an assist to Alfred Patton.

With the victory, Vicksburg sits tied with Warren Central at two wins apiece in the division behind undefeated Forest Hill, while Natchez claims sole possession of last place.

Vicksburg 61, Natchez 58

The Missy Gators broke out their new &uot;53&uot; press defense in the fourth quarter and it made all the difference.

Vicksburg’s inside duo of Tiffany Hubbard and Kristin Ellis each scored eight points in the fourth quarter, benefiting from fast breaks off turnovers.

The loss puts Natchez (6-13, 1-4) alone in last place in the division, while Vicksburg (13-9, 2-3) slides into third.