Defense triggers NHS to road win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 31, 2005

FAYETTE &8212; Chalk this victory up to defense.

Natchez (3-3) unleashed a stifling fullcourt press &8212; pressuring Jefferson County at every opportunity &8212; to post a 57-48 victory over the homestanding Tigers on Tuesday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

Both teams committed 18 turnovers apiece, but Natchez&8217;s pressure forced Jefferson County into quick shots and bad decisions.

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&8220;They had to pass the ball so quickly,&8221; Natchez forward C.J. Wright said. &8220;They didn&8217;t have time to set up and take their time. We were able to force them into some bad passes.&8221;

While the Natchez defense was fierce, Jefferson County helped the Bulldogs by shooting poorly from the perimeter. Perry Turner made Jefferson County&8217;s only 3-pointer with 4:35 to play.

&8220;They just had a bad night,&8221; Natchez forward Jeremy Houston said. &8220;They can hit in this old cracker box.&8221;

Natchez didn&8217;t shoot any better &8212; Kenny Robinson hit the Bulldogs&8217; lone 3-pointer with 7:09 remaining &8212; and that&8217;s because Jefferson County (3-2) played with passion on defense, too.

Wright led all scorers with 19 points, and Houston added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Natchez. That offset a strong performance by Jefferson&8217;s County&8217;s Kenneth Lowe and Radon Day. Lowe finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Day had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

&8220;They did a good job of stepping it up on defense,&8221; JC coach Marcus Walton said of Natchez. &8220;I have to give them credit. Their defensive pressure was wonderful.

&8220;Here in the early part of the year, we&8217;ve been struggling with our perimeter shooting. We&8217;re struggling.&8221;

Natchez appeared in control throughout the first quarter, but the Tigers closed the opening period with 9-0 run to take a 13-8 lead.

The Bulldogs responded with a 12-0 run in the second quarter, building a 26-17 lead before taking a 26-22 advantage into halftime.