Bulldogs practice to face Warren Central full-court pressure

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; The Natchez Bulldogs were hard at work Thursday afternoon preparing for their game tonight against Warren Central.

But the Bulldogs don’t want to make this game seem any more important than it is. A win will set them on the right track, a loss will mean they have some making up to do against district opponents.

&uot;It’s important, but it’s just a regular district game,&uot; guard Tryon Wilson said. &uot;We’re just getting ready for their press, working on executing our offense and playing hard on defense.&uot;

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The Natchez practice Thursday was intense, with fast-paced drills and plenty of running. The rare breaks by head coach Mike Martin didn’t last long. Thursday’s practice emphasized passing the ball and moving and working on the press break.

Warren Central typically runs a full-court press for long stretches in their games, making press-breaking a priority for opponents. Natchez’ ability to get past the press and set up the half-court offense could be the deciding factor in the game.

The Natchez team is a young one this year, and players are still fitting into their roles and learning to play together. The Bulldogs have been up and down early in the season, but Rodney Gray said he thinks the team is coming together.

&uot;Right now we’re alright. We have a lot to improve on in our chemistry, our passing and moving together,&uot; Gray said. &uot;But we’re starting to gel and come together as a team. I’m seeing more guys realize you have to put the team first, not yourself.&uot;

St. Aloysius at Cathedral

It’s no secret St. Aloysius and Cathedral are rivals.

Any clash between the two teams is a big story, but this one might be more interesting than most. It’s the district opener for both teams and a chance for a Cathedral team that’s been struggling to start the district season with a win at home.

&uot;St. Al’s a big rivalry. It’s a good game no matter how the teams are playing, whether one’s good and the other bad or whatever,&uot; Cathedral’s Clay Pennington said. &uot;It’s always an intense, rough game and it’s always fun.&uot;

The Green Wave was blown out 75-34 in its last game, a matchup with Loyd Star. But Cathedral’s district season should mean a drop in competition from what the Green Wave has been facing

&uot;We’ve played a challenging schedule so far and that’s identified some weaknesses on our team,&uot; Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold said.

St. Al’s has five new starters this season and a new coach this season, meaning the Green Wave aren’t sure what to expect.

&uot;The Loyd Star coach told me they played all man-to-man defense so that’s what we’re preparing for,&uot; Arnold said. &uot;But I told the boys to be ready for anything.&uot;

Cathedral has been working on breaking the press as well. Without a natural point guard, the Green Wave has been working on sharing the duties at that position. Pennington said that Jeremy Davis has moved to the position this week in practice and should see most of the time there tonight.

North Pike at Jefferson County

The Tigers will play one of their rivals, North Pike, tonight in district play as well.

Jefferson County’s last outing was an 87-68 loss to Port Gibson.

North Pike is 2-3 on the season and coming off a 63-34 loss to Dexter.