NHS dusts off rust, beats Ferriday 61-43

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 19, 2010

NATCHEZ — A weeklong layoff left the Natchez High School varsity girls a bit rusty, but they were still able to take care of business Saturday night.

The Lady Bulldogs hosted Ferriday High School and rode a strong inside game by Kiara Johnson and Ricarla Shotwell to a 61-43 victory. Johnson led Natchez with 16 points, and Shotwell tallied 14 points.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Sue Johnson said she suspended practice this past week due to end-of-the-semester activities.

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“I gave them a couple days off because of exams, and we had no game Tuesday, so we have to get back into a rhythm,” Johnson said.

Johnson said her post players had a good game Saturday, and if she could ever get the post and her guards to play at a high level simultaneously, things would be “all right.”

“(Kiara Johnson and Shotwell) are our post players,” Johnson said. “I rotate through all the groups with my assistant coaches, and coach (Birdon) Mitchell has been doing a good job working with the post players.

“When our post players feel they’re more involved, they’ll get more rebounds and blocked shots. They won’t feel like they’re working for nothing.”

Ferriday trailed 19-3 after the first quarter, but clawed away at the lead a little in the second quarter to make it 25-13 Natchez at intermission. Ferriday head coach Lisa Abron said her team didn’t have an answer for Shotwell inside.

“We knew coming in we’d be outsized in the middle, so we tried to double-team her, but we just didn’t have the personnel,” Abron said.

“We tried to pressure the guards up front, and we did OK with that early, but I guess it wasn’t enough. We had some turnovers early that put is in a big hole, but I thought there was good effort on my girls’ part.”

Natchez only scored six points in the second quarter while the Lady Bulldogs were subbing in players. Johnson said she had a hard time finding a spark off the bench.

“It changed the chemistry a little bit, and it didn’t really get going smoothly,” she said. “We got into some foul trouble too.”

But the Lady Bulldogs took care of business in the second half, scoring 21 points in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth quarter.

“In the second half, we got some more fast breaks, and that allowed us to maintain the lead,” Johnson said.

“I thought we hustled really well tonight. We’re still not in our rhythm that we started in, but we managed to stay in the game by continuing to hustle.”

Ashley Minor had 12 points for Natchez. Chata Poole led Ferriday with 24 points, and Keatrice Brown scored 10 points.

Natchez (10-1) will travel to Lawrence County Tuesday, while Ferriday (5-9) heads to Madison-Central Tuesday.

“We’re going to be focusing on rebounding and cutting down on turnovers,” Abron said. “This is the first game we’ve had that many turnovers at the beginning.”

Natchez boys 65,

Ferriday 45

Trevon Chatman scored 17 points as the Bulldogs cruised to their fourth win this season Saturday night.

Quincy Washington finished with 15 points for Natchez, Jonathan Griffin had 12 points and DaVante Green tallied 10 points. Ferriday’s Ted’Rai Gullage and Brandon Thompson both scored 11 points.

Natchez (4-7) will play Tuesday at Lawrence County.