Lady Chiefs claim district over Trinity

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Four games in five days could put a hurt on you.

Especially when on that last day you’ve got to face a Tensas Academy press.

The Trinity Episcopal Lady Saints had problems with it early and fell behind by 20 early in the second quarter, and the Lady Chiefs finished it out with a 55-32 win Tuesday at Clyde Adams Arena to claim the District 7-A regular season crown.

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But fortunately for the Lady Saints, they’re already in as the No. 2 seed in next week’s District 7-A tournament &045; a seed that gives them a automatic berth in the South State tournament.

&uot;That was our goal from the beginning,&uot; Trinity head coach Melanie Hall said. &uot;To go in and get that No. 2 bye to the South State tournament, I couldn’t be more proud. People don’t know the things these girls have been through. But you grow in the hard times. You persevere and go through it, and you get tougher. When we’re playing their best, we can compete with compete with anybody.&uot;

You may have a hard time denying that, particularly since the Lady Saints were one day removed from one of their better games all season in 74-43 win over Amite School Center. But the schedule in recent days give them their best chance at matching up against a quick and aggressive Tensas team.

The Lady Chiefs have a chance to finish district with a 10-0 record when they wrap up Thursday against WCCA.

&uot;Our girls played hard,&uot; Tensas head coach Chuck Bauerle said. &uot;We kind of relaxed a little bit in the second quarter, but I thought we played well. The press was working, and we hit a few shots at the beginning of the game. Melanie does a great job with her team. We feel good. We’ve got first place going into the district tournament, but you can wipe all that clean. It’s all history.&uot;

The Lady Chiefs started pressing from the get-go and held the Lady Saints without a field goal for a stretch of over 10 minutes in the first half. Tensas hit five of six free throws midway through the first before a bucket from Tabitha Howard put the lead at 20-6 with 1:51 left.

Whitney Alford and Aubrey McEacharn each tossed in buckets to help Tensas take a 24-6 lead heading into the second quarter.

&uot;If it did (give us problems), it was our decision,&uot; Hall said. &uot;We may have made some unwise decisions. I think if anybody hurts us, it’s ourselves. We were a little sluggish at times. If you look at our legs, you can tell we’ve been in war &045; and they have. They left all they had out there, and that’s all I can ask.&uot;

Amanda Doyle put in consecutive buckets around two free throws from Laura Jo Hurt to put the lead at 28-8 with 5:31 left in the second, and Trinity hit a field goal with 3:42 left when Mallory Archer tossed one in to trim the lead to 30-10.

Archer, the team’s leading scorer, finished with just two field goals for the game and nine points, but Sierra Massey provided the offense late with four 3-pointers in the second half.