Ferriday boys, girls take close wins over Natchez

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FERRIDAY — It wasn’t a pretty victory by any means, but Ferriday boys basketball coach K.G. Watkins will take it just fine.

The Trojans overcame sloppy play at times to defeat the Natchez High Bulldogs 59-52 in a non-district game Tuesday night.

“That one was close,” Watkins said. “We didn’t play well on the offensive end and they beat us on defense but I’m satisfied just to get a win.”

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After leading by one point at halftime, Ferriday entered the fourth quarter trailing 41-39 to the Bulldogs.

Natchez expanded their lead to as many as four points, taking a 54-50 advantage with just under five minutes left.

However, the Trojans closed the game on a 9-2 run, including five free throws in the final minute, to pull out the victory.

Watkins said the victory was important for Ferriday (18-7), which won its 11th game in a row.

“We wanted to use this game to get used to a playoff atmosphere,” Watkins said. “Natchez has a good strong club. It helps our kids to face a team with a lot of talent as we get prepared to play the second half of our district schedule.”

Ferriday was led by Matthew Smith with 16 points while Leveir Pryor scored 13 and Joshua Upchurch had 11.

Deshawn Griggs led Natchez with 16 points while Kendall Logan scored 15 for the Bulldogs.

Ferriday girls 79, Natchez 76

The Lady Trojans blew a 14 point, third quarter lead, but somehow composed themselves and sweated out a three-point victory over the Lady Bulldogs.

“We needed that win,” Ferriday coach Lisa Abron said. “We needed confidence going back into district play and that’s what we got.”

After blowing a 50-36 third quarter lead, the Lady Trojans found themselves down 76-75 after Natchez’s Alia Frank hit a basket with 36 seconds remaining. However, on the ensuing possession, Jasmine Upchurch rebounded a miss and put it back through the basket with 20 seconds left to give the Trojans the lead again.

Frank was then fouled with 10 seconds remaining but missed both free throws.

Ferriday got the rebound and T’Keyah Fletcher hit two free throws with 3.4 seconds left.

A desperation heave at the buzzer by the Lady Bulldogs was off the mark.

Abron said her young team showed some real maturity in coming back to take the win after blowing the big lead.

“We kept our composure and didn’t panic,” Abron said. “We’re showing some maturity as a team. We’re a young team but we’re definitely growing up.”

The Lady Trojans (24-5) were led by freshman Chante Poole, who was a step ahead of the Natchez defense all night.

Poole finished with 30 points and numerous assists as well.

“She stepped up huge for us tonight,” Abron said. “She’s just a freshman but she played like a big time senior. I’ve been expecting her to do that all year.”

Jasmine Butler and Upchurch had great games as well, scoring 22 and 19 points, respectively.

The final two missed free throws spoiled an outstanding effort by Frank, who scored 39 points in defeat. Ashley Morrison also had 14 for the Lady Bulldogs (18-4), who have lost four out of six following a 16-0 start.

“We’re going to be alright,” Natchez coach Sue Johnson said. “We’re battling some issues right now but we’re getting it together. We’ve had a high and then a low, but we’ve got to get back up there. I’m not the least big discouraged.”