NHS girls play sloppily in 57-38 win against Brookhaven

Published 12:02 am Saturday, January 11, 2014

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School head coach Alphaka Moore used one word to describe her team’s performance against Brookhaven High School Friday night: horrible.

The Lady Bulldogs played a sloppy first half that was full of turnovers and missed layups but still managed to pull out a 57-38 win.

“It was the worst game of the season,” Moore said. “Everything they didn’t do (in the game) are things we go over every day. It’s all mental, but they have to make up their minds to do it.”

Rashonae Rice, left, and Marquita Wallace of Natchez High School jump to grab a rebound in the first half of the MSHAA Division 6-5A game against Brookhaven High School Friday. NHS defeated Brookhaven, 57-38. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

Rashonae Rice, left, and Marquita Wallace of Natchez High School jump to grab a rebound in the first half of the MSHAA Division 6-5A game against Brookhaven High School Friday. NHS defeated Brookhaven, 57-38. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

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Seniors Kiana Jones and Marquita Wallace made the difference in the game. Jones recorded a triple double as she scored 16 points, brought down 12 rebounds and took away 10 steals in the contest. Wallace recorded six points, all in the fourth quarter on put-back layups and clutch free throws.

Moore said her seniors gave maximum effort to fill what the Lady Bulldogs were lacking Friday.

“I think (Jones) did really well; she stepped up and showed leadership as a senior,” Moore said. “Where others weren’t showing up, she took their spot. Wallace got clutch rebounds and put backs that we needed and she did everything she had to do.”

Moore said freshman Kirdis Clark had a good game. Clark finished with 13 points.

Jessica Wilson led Brookhaven in scoring with 11 points.

Things seemed to start off well for NHS as it built an early 8-0 lead on Jones’ put back layup at the 4:39 mark. But Brookhaven ended the quarter on a 6-3 run that ended on Chantel Quarles’ layup off of a Brookhaven steal, making it 11-6 after one.

Natchez went into the locker room ahead 21-14 and was able to take a double digit lead in the 6:31 mark of the third quarter on Jones’ put back layup that was set up Ernesha Chatman’s steal and missed layup, making the score 25-14.

Hill put up an offensive rebound for Brookhaven to inch within single digits again, 25-17.

The Lady Bulldogs went in to the fourth quarter ahead 38-27 and were able to put the Lady Panthers away with a 19-point fourth quarter.

Brookhaven head coach Freda Craft said her players now know what happens when they don’t give maximum effort.

“We just got out hustled, and we got out rebounded,” she said. “We let tiredness take over instead of heart saying, ‘I’m going to do what I can do to win.’”

Craft said she told her team after the game that things must change if they want to be successful in district play.

“I told them if we don’t do any better and start getting ready to play in practice instead of playing in practice, we’re going to keep losing like this,” she said.

Natchez plays again at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Lanier High School, while Brookhaven takes on Wilkinson County High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Brookhaven boys 59, Natchez boys 53

The Natchez High School Bulldogs got their momentum going in the last five minutes of the ball game, but unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough to pull out the win against Brookhaven High School in a 59-53 loss.

The Bulldogs were undersized against the Panthers, and it played a big role in their struggles Friday night. Assistant coach David Haywood said their sluggish first half also hurt.

“We played in a funk tonight; we weren’t sharp and crisp,” Haywood said. “We came in at halftime, and I said, ‘You have to lay it on the line, because this is for the top spot in the district.’”

And De’Arius Griffin, Gary Woods and Daryl Jones responded in the final minutes of the game to turn an 18-point deficit into a one-point lead with two minutes left.

Griffin led the Bulldogs with 17 points, while Woods tallied 12 points. Khalil Newton put up 17 points for the Panthers, and Lazarian McNulty added 11 points.

NHS was able to keep up with Brookhaven in the first quarter as it stayed within two points, 14-12, when Michael Morris scored a layup with the assist by Griffin.

The Panthers pulled away in the second quarter when they outscored NHS 20-10 to go into halftime ahead 34-22. The third quarter wasn’t much better for the Bulldogs, as they still found themselves down by double figures, 47-35.

But Natchez got a momentum shifter at the five-minute mark when they cut the lead to 49-40.

Woods scored the Bulldogs next five points on a layup and a pull up three-pointer to bring them within 50-47 at the 3:30 mark.

At the 2:10 mark, the Bulldogs’ took a one-point lead on Griffin’s reverse layup in traffic.

But Brookhaven went on a 6-0 run, capped off by Damarius Brooks’ two clutch free throws with 32.9 seconds left that gave the Panthers a 56-51 lead, and the Bulldogs couldn’t recover.

Brookhaven head coach Preston Wilson said his players didn’t play consistently, but they were able to pull out the win in hostile territory.

“We got out early, and our press was very successful in the ball game, but towards the end, we didn’t take care of the ball and they were able to make a run,” he said. “We just had to settle down. Down the stretch, we made some big free throws, and that’s where you win the ballgame.”

The Bulldogs play against Lanier High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, while Brookhaven plays against Wilkinson County High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.