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Cohesiveness helps Lady Bulldogs start fast

NATCHEZ — The Natchez High Lady Bulldogs might not have as much talent as in years past, but that just might be a good thing.

The Lady Bulldogs have raced off to an 11-1 start to the season playing team basketball that had been missing at some points the past few seasons.

“We don’t have any superstars, everybody chips in,” Natchez High coach Sue Johnson said. “We have good chemistry, which is making this work. Everybody is pretty much doing their part and not standing around waiting on one person to carry the load.”

Last year’s Natchez team featured standouts Keosha Bradley, Jasmine Belton and Anastasia Hutchins, and Johnson said the other players sometimes deferred too much to those three.

“They depended on them too much, and now that we don’t have them anymore, they know somebody else has to do it,” Johnson said. “Nobody is standing around depending on one person.”

Johnson said the work the team put in during the summer has also helped them come together.

“We worked hard this summer, playing in a local league and going to a couple of camps,” Johnson said. “This was the first time playing in the little league we had, and it helped us gel more than usual.”

That cohesiveness has shown itself late in games this season, as the Lady Bulldogs have won several games in the fourth quarter, including a one-point victory over Jim Hill when Jacquerra Williams hit three free throws with a second left.

“When Jacquerra hit those free throws at the end of the game to beat Jim Hill, that was a real confidence builder,” Johnson said. “That brought us closer together.”

But even though the Lady Bulldogs are 11-1, Johnson said there is still room for improvement.

“We are our own worst enemy,” Johnson said. “If we would relax and concentrate on our layups and free throws, a lot of times we wouldn’t be in the predicaments we’ve been in.”

The Lady Bulldogs will next play in the Pepsi Tournament at Jackson State University.

Natchez will play Bailey Magnet at 10 a.m. Tuesday. If they win, they would then play Lanier at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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