Natchez High girls fall to Lanier

Published 12:13 am Thursday, December 30, 2010

JACKSON — The top-ranked team in Class 5A went up against the fourth-ranked team in Class 6A Wednesday afternoon as Lanier took on Natchez High in a battle of the Lady Bulldogs at the JPS/Pepsi Basketball Tournament.

And the two teams surely did not disappoint. Natchez High led Lanier for much of the first half and led by eight points at halftime before Lanier took over in the second half for a 55-42 win, which eliminated Natchez High from the tournament.

“I’m real proud of them. They played their hearts out. They hustled their butts off until the end,” Natchez High head coach Sue Johnson said.

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The first quarter wasn’t exactly indicative of how good these two teams are. Both teams had trouble getting shots to fall and struggled with turnovers. By the time the quarter was finally over, Natchez High had a 7-4 lead.

Thankfully, the second quarter saw better offensive outputs from both teams.

Natchez High outscored Lanier 18-13 in the second quarter to take a 25-18 halftime lead. But whatever Lanier head coach Jonas James told the players at the half worked. Lanier played a lot more aggressive defense in the second half and knocked Natchez High out of synch.

Lanier’s defense held Jacquerra Williams to just six points. Natchez High (12-2) was led by Ashley Minor with 18 points and Keyana Miller with nine points.

Led by Dominique Brothern and Cortney Epting, Lanier outscored Natchez High 13-4 in the third quarter to take a 31-29 lead and then put the game away with a 25-13 advantage in the fourth quarter.

“They have a real good team. They got very, very physical at the end. We had the lead and the refs were letting them play football,” Johnson said. “They weren’t calling anything. That took us out of our game.”

Brothern finished with a game-high 22 points while Epting scored 14 points for Lanier, which improved to 10-0.

Natchez High plays host to McComb on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Simpson Academy 47, ACCS 40

MENDENHALL — Adams County Christian School didn’t have all of its players available for the girls’ championship game at the Simpson Academy Holiday Tournament against the host Lady Cougars Wednesday afternoon.

And while the Lady Rebels played hard and relied on their defense to take the lead after three quarters of play, Simpson Academy’s post players wore them down in the fourth quarter in leading the Lady Cougars to the title.

“I’m not one to make excuses, but we were a little short-handed today. Simpson just outplayed us,” ACCS head coach Melanie Hall said. “Layups, free throws and defense — you do all of those, you’ll be successful. In our last couple of outings, we’ve have very poor free-throw shooting and we’ve missed a lot of lay-ups. And it came back to haunt us today.”

Simpson Academy jumped out to a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. But ACCS responded despite its offensive woes by outscoring the Lady Cougars 13-9 in the second quarter and 10-8 in the third quarters to take a 34-32 lead.

But the Lady Cougars would not be denied on their home court. Led by Abby Bunston, Brittany Gardner and Lauren Welch, Simpson Academy dominated the fourth quarter and outscored ACCS 15-6 on its way to the championship.

Bunston led Simpson Academy with a game-high 14 points while Gardner added 12 points and Lauren Welch finished with 11 points. With the win, the Lady Cougars picked up their seventh victory – one more than they had all of last season.

“As always, we give God the glory not matter the situation. Simpson’s a good team. They had some big girls on the inside. We were thankful of the opportunity and to get some of the rust off of us. We could possibly see some of these teams again in the (playoffs),” Hall said.

ACCS (12-3) was led by Taylor Welch with 11 points while Brandis White was held to just nine points. The Lady Rebels resume MAIS District 5-AA play on Tuesday, Jan. 4 when they travel to Woodville to take on Wilkinson County Christian Academy.

Kirk Academy 49,

Trinity Episcopal 33

BROOKHAVEN — Kelsey Marter scored a game-high 19 points and Allye Lundy chipped in with 10 points as the Kirk Academy Raiderettes defeated the Trinity Episcopal Lady Saints Wednesday afternoon at the Brookhaven Academy Holiday Tournament.

Kirk Academy led by just two points, 17-15 at halftime over Trinity Episcopal, the No. 1 team in Class A. But the second half belonged to the Raiderettes, the No. 3 team in Class AA, as the outscored the Lady Saints 19-10 in the third quarter to go up by 11 points and 13-8 in the fourth quarter.

Trinity Episcopal (11-5) was led by Bethany Ogden with 14 points while Madelyn Cross scored just seven points thanks to a tough Raiderettes defense.

The Lady Saints play host to Cathedral at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3.