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NHS girls snap two-game skid with win

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School girls basketball coach Sue Johnson is known for her extended team meetings after each game her girls play.

Friday night, however, there wasn’t much to say other than the Lord’s Prayer, as the Lady Bulldogs won convincingly against 54-40 against Wingfield.

Johnson was particularly happy with her team’s defense, which limited Wingfield to just four points in the second quarter and eight points in the third, giving her team a good cushion at the end.

“I was more uplifted, more fired up by our defense than anything else tonight,” Johnson said. “They really, really made me proud. The whole team gave good effort, and a lot of times we don’t get that.”

After falling behind 11-7 at the end of the first period, the Lady Bulldogs held Wingfield to just two free throws in the first seven and a half minutes. Ricarla Shotwell got things started for Natchez, hitting a field goal with 7:30 left in the second.

Rebecca Minor followed up with a three-pointer with 6:59 left, giving Natchez 12-11 lead. Wingfield’s Brittney Jones was fouled, and hit both of her free throws to give Wingfield the lead again, but Keyana Miller hit a two-pointer and drew the foul.

After making the and-one, she followed up with a layup at the 3:37 mark. Rebecca Minor hit a layup with 2:26 before intermission. Wingfield finally scored again with 20 seconds left in the second, when D’Kiarah Atkinson made a layup. Shotwell hit a field goal with one second left to give Natchez a 23-15 lead at the break.

Natchez opened up the third quarter with a 8-0 run in the first three and a half minutes before Preshana Williams hit a two-pointer with 4:28 left in the period. From there, Wingfield outscored Natchez 6-4 to give the Lady Bulldogs a 35-23 lead after three.

Wingfield began to find some holes in the Lady Bulldogs’ defense during the fourth quarter, tallying 17 points, but Natchez scored 19 points to make sure the game stayed out of reach.

“This feels a whole lot better than Tuesday night, when we lost 63-32 against Lanier,” Johnson said. “We’re happy to get back in the win column. We had lost two in a row before tonight, and we haven’t lost two in a row all year.”

Despite the big win, the Lady Bulldogs still struggled a bit making layups, and were just 11–for-23 in free throws.

“I wish I knew the answer to those problems, but it’s just on them,” Johnson said. “We’ve tried everything. What I don’t understand is, if you always knew how to make a layup, who un-taught you?

“All I can say is, it’s a mind thing. They’re the only ones with the key. I can’t do any more than teach proper technique. The mindset is theirs and theirs alone. We’re not making anymore excuses — it’s up to them.”

Natchez rose to 14-4 on the season, 3-2 in regional play.

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