Lady Bulldogs win title

Published 12:05 am Saturday, February 16, 2008

JACKSON — For the most part, Friday night’s Division 6-5A girls’ championship game between top-seeded Natchez High and third-seeded Wingfield was a close one.

However, the second quarter proved to be the turning point in the game as the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Falcons 18-9 en route to an 11-point halftime lead and eventually a 77-57 win to claim the division championship.

“They (players) were jumping for joy. I’m so very proud of my coaching staff and training staff,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Sue Johnson said. “Skyler Chaney won the Sportsmanship Award. We’re not as strong because of the flu and the ankle injuries.”

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Even though Natchez High (23-5) had been ranked for much of the season, host Wingfield didn’t seem that intimidated despite being a big underdog on its home court. The Lady Falcons stayed right with the Lady Bulldogs in the first quarter and trailed by just two points, 17-15.

But the Lady Bulldogs ended any thoughts of an upset by clamping down on defense and forcing several turnovers, which in turn translated into easy baskets. They also had a balanced offense and ended up with four players in double figures.

“We played pretty good. We had a few letdowns, but we made the plays when we had to,” Johnson said. “We played a good defensive game. They’re stepping up to the challenge. I love a balanced attack.”

Tori Paxton led Natchez High with 18 points while Alia Frank and Ashley Morrison scored 16 points each and Keosha Bradley added 12 points for the division champs. The Lady Bulldogs will host Hattiesburg in a Class 5A South State Playoff first round game Monday at 7 p.m.

Cathedral 56, Dexter 46

BOGUE CHITTO — Kristian Dobard scored a game-high 29 points as the Cathedral Lady Green Wave defeated the Dexter Lady Bulldogs 56-46 Friday afternoon in the third-place game of the Region 8-1A Tournament.

Cathedral (14-16) led Dexter by just four points at halftime before opening up a double-digit lead thanks in large part to a 22-9 advantage in the third quarter. Even though Dexter had three players in double figures, the Lady Bulldogs could not overcome the 17-point deficit.

“We put a young, quick group in. We pressed a good bit in the third quarter,” Lady Green Wave head coach Kathy Graning said. “We did what we needed to do. Kristian did well on the offensive end. Everybody contributed well. We had a spurt where we were pressing and running.”

Haley Forman was the only other Lady Green Wave to score in double figures as she finished with 10 points. With its third-place finish, Cathedral will be on the road early next week in the first round of the Class 1A South State Playoffs against an opponent to be determined.

“This is the furthest we’ve been in many years. We’re happy to be here,” Graning said.

Tensas Academy 54, Riverdale 44

RAYMOND — Even though these two teams played on opposite ends of District 6-A, this was the fourth meeting between Tensas Academy and Riverdale Academy.

And this time, the Lady Chiefs were not going to be denied as they used a big third quarter to defeat the Lady Rebels Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the MPSA Class A South State Tournament at Central Hinds Academy.

Tensas Academy will take on Claiborne Academy, ranked No. 1 in Class A, in the girls’ championship game today at 2:15 p.m.

Kaitlen Emfinger led Tensas Academy (20-11) with 18 points and Mary Miller Ratcliff chipped in with 10 points. This was indeed a most satisfying win for the Lady Chiefs, who avenged their loss to Riverdale in the semifinals of the district tournament a week earlier.

“I guess it was our turn,” Lady Chiefs head coach Allen Crigler said. “We played pretty good defense. We didn’t press them at all. We played zone and they never got in sync. They played us man to man the whole game.”

Coach Crigler also contributed the win to the play of Emily Arceneaux and Sidney Lee. Even though they didn’t score any points, they played some good defense. The Lady Chiefs overcame a one-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Lady Rebels 18-3 in the third quarter.

Prairie View 57, Centreville 29

COLUMBIA — Less than 24 hours after scoring a career-high 36 points in a stunning win over Columbia Academy, Centreville’s Amber Addington was held to just 11 points as the Lady Tigers lost to the Lady Spartans in the semifinals of the MPSA Class AA South State Tournament.

Prairie View (33-1), the District 3-A champion and ranked No. 3 in Class AA, led by just one point at the end of the first quarter. But its defense, along with an offense led by Caroline Oliphant and Lena Kate Thompson, was too much as the game went along.

The Lady Spartans pulled way from Centreville (12-17) with a 19-4 edge in the second quarter and closed out the game with a 17-5 advantage in the fourth quarter. Oliphant led the way with 17 points and Thompson had 16 points.

Centerville will take on a familiar opponent in the third place game today at 1 p.m. — District 5-AA champion Oak Forest, which lost to second-ranked Brookhaven Academy 48-36 in the first semifinal game.