Natchez loses to No. 1 seed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

JACKSON &8212; Having won just one game in Division 6-5A during the regular season, the No. 4 seed Bulldogs knew they would have their hands full with the Rebels Tuesday night.

Forest Hill went into this division tournament first-round game ranked No. 8 in The Clarion Ledger&8217;s Super 10 boys&8217; poll and No. 3 in all of Class 5A. The Rebels were also the No. 1 seed and the favorite to win the division crown.

And now the Rebels (24-6) are one step closer after putting away the Bulldogs with a pair of 20-point quarters that turned a six-point lead after one quarter of play into a 20-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

Email newsletter signup

Natchez High (7-16) stayed with Forest Hill in the first quarter and trailed just 18-12 at the end of the quarter. But the second and third quarters were when the Rebels took over as they outscored the Bulldogs 20-14 in the second and 20-12 in the third for a commanding 58-38 lead.

Kevin Sims led four Forest Hill players in double figures with a game-high 23 points. Terrell Kennedy had one of his best games of the season for the Rebels and finished with 18 points. Michael Chatman and Deshawn Griggs led Natchez High with 12 points each.

Wilkinson girls 52, West Marion 42

TYLERTOWN &8212; The Lady Wildcats, ranked No. 7 in The Democrat&8217;s public school girls poll, took a three-game winning streak into their Region 7-3A Tournament first-round match-up with the Lady Trojans Tuesday afternoon.

Wilkinson County, which went into the tournament as the No. 3 seed, continued its winning ways by defeating West Marion, the tournament&8217;s No. 6 seed and also ending the season for the Lady Trojans.

But it took a strong defensive effort in the third quarter for the Wildcats to pull away and advance in the tournament.

Wilkinson County (18-11) got off to a slow start on the offensive end in the first quarter and surprisingly trailed West Marion 8-7 at the end of the quarter.

The Lady Wildcats were able to get their offense going in the second quarter as they scored 13 points, but found themselves leading by just one point, 20-19, at halftime.

Finally, the defense rose to the occasion and gave the offense a much-needed boost in the third quarter. Wilkinson County outscored West Marion (11-10) 16-8 in that pivotal quarter to take a 36-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Kimberly Griffin led the Lady Wildcats with a game-high 23 points. Portia Adams led the Lady Trojans with 15 points.

South Pike boys 67, Wilkinson Co. 64 (OT)

TYLERTOWN &8212; Even though the Wildcats entered the Region 7-3A Tournament as the No. 5 seed, they have been playing well of late, winning three of their last four games and were hoping that would continue against the No. 4 seed Eagles in the first round.

While Wilkinson County, currently ranked No. 10 in The Democrat&8217;s public school boys&8217; poll, has been playing some of its best basketball of the season in recent weeks, South Pike has been going the opposite direction, losing four of its last five games.

But that all changed Tuesday night as the Eagles got re-energized after a terrible second quarter and rallied from an eight-point deficit at halftime to defeat the Wildcats in overtime.

South Pike (14-11) led Wilkinson County 12-11 after one quarter of play but the second quarter was kind of a reminder of the direction these two teams were going in at the end of the regular season &8212; the Wildcats up and the Eagles down.

Wilkinson County (13-18) outscored South Pike 16-7 in the second and had a 28-19 lead at halftime. But just when the Wildcats seemed poised to take control of the game, the Eagles weren&8217;t going to let that happen.

And it showed in the game-changing third quarter. With a balanced scoring attack that had five South Pike players finish in double figures, the Eagles outscored the Wildcats 22-14 to tie the game at 41-41 going into the fourth quarter.

Philip Brown led the Eagles with 14 points and Reginald Magee had 13 points. Lawrence Cage led the Wildcats with a game-high 27 points.

Jefferson County boys 60, Raymond 53

RAYMOND &8212; Despite ending up as the No. 5 seed in the Region 6-3A Tournament, the Tigers, ranked No. 9 in The Democrat&8217;s public school boys&8217; poll, won their last five games of the regular season, including wins over Natchez High, Hazlehurst and Franklin County.

But their first-round opponent would be the No. 4 seed Rangers, playing on their home court and with most of the fans being those of the host school. The Tigers knew they would have to get out to a quick start and keep the pace of the game in their favor to squash Raymond&8217;s home-court advantage.

Even though that did not turn out to be the case, the Tigers turned things around in the second half, scoring 23 points in both the third and fourth quarters to rally for the seven-point win over the Rangers.

It was the fourth quarter that won the game for the Tigers as they outscored Raymond 23-15 to advance to the semifinals while also ending the Rangers&8217; season.

Things didn&8217;t look good for Jefferson County (14-10) in the first half and, more specifically, the first quarter. The Tigers were trailing Raymond (11-16) 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but their defense kept them in the game as they held the Rangers to just six points in the second quarter and were down by just two points at halftime.

Percy Turner led Jefferson County with a game-high 18 points. Deshun Cooper led Raymond with 13 points.

Bogue Chitto boys 64, Cathedral 58

BROOKHAVEN &8212; For a team that played so well for, as head coach Peter Arnold said, 90 percent of the game, it&8217;s almost unthinkable that the Green Wave would end up losing this game and have their season come to an end.

But that&8217;s exactly what happened as the No. 4 seed Bobcats rallied from a five-point halftime deficit thanks to some costly turnovers by Cathedral in the second half and escaped with a win over the No. 5 seed Green Wave in the first round of the Region 7-1A Tournament.

&8220;We played so good. We controlled the pace of the game,&8221; Arnold said. &8220;We played great defense. (Matt) Goss was dynamite on the defensive boards.&8221;

Cathedral (11-16) played well on both ends of the court in the first quarter and had a 17-10 lead over Bogue Chitto (9-14) as the quarter came to an end. The Green Wave then held a 29-24 lead at halftime.

Goss finished with a double-double with 23 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Green Wave.

But the second half was a completely different story for both teams.

&8220;We had a couple of mental lapses in the second half,&8221; Arnold said. &8220;We made a couple of decisions on bad passes. We made a couple of mistakes in the fourth quarter.&8221;

Part of Cathedral&8217;s untimely breakdowns on offense led to the Bobcats outscoring the Green Wave 17-11 in the third quarter for a 41-40 lead. Dantae Ratcliff and Alonzo Miller also had plenty to do with the Bobcats&8217; second-half rally and they each ended up with 22 points.

Then Bogue Chitto had a three-point lead with just 30 seconds left in the game. Cathedral had the ball and called timeout to set up a play. That play, however, never materialized for the Green Wave.

&8220;We threw a bad pass and they jumped into the passing lane,&8221; Arnold said. &8220;They scored a layup. and that was it. The plays went their way. and the ball bounced their way at the end. I feel so sorry for the seniors. We could&8217;ve won the game. and we could&8217;ve won district. But our season is over now.&8221;