Lady Bulldogs fall to Hattiesburg 79-58

Published 12:04 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

GULFPORT — Natchez High coach Sue Johnson thinks her team had playoff jitters.

That’s the only way she can explain how the Lady Bulldogs were blown out in the fourth quarter of a 79-58 loss to Hattiesburg in the second round of the MHSAA South State Tournament Friday.

“Maybe all those jitters are out of the way now,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve made it to this point since I’ve been head coach — we’ve never made it past the first round since I’ve been here.”

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The Division 6-winner Lady Bulldogs were in prime position to overtake Division 5 runner up Hattiesburg, down just two points at the end of the third quarter, when everything went haywire.

Johnson said the girls stopped running plays and started playing what looked like street ball.

“We didn’t execute,” she said. “They weren’t doing anything we told them to do.

“No play will work if you don’t run it, and they weren’t setting up anything.”

The score had been tied at 15 after eight minutes, and Natchez was down 31-30 at halftime.

But for whatever reason, the Lady Bulldogs just didn’t play to their capability in the fourth quarter.

“I wouldn’t be too disappointed if we would have played how we were capable of playing, given it everything we’ve got and lost,” she said.

Natchez will take on Brandon at 6:30 p.m. today in the fight for third place in the South.

If they win, the Lady Bulldogs can still make the state tournament in Jackson.

“Maybe we (can) get a little rest and come back and hope Brandon thinks that’s what we’re made out of,” Johnson said. “If we give it our best shot, we’ve got a chance. But we have to make the effort.”