Natchez boys and girls down Ferriday

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NATCHEZ — Natchez basketball teams protected its court and flexed its 5A muscle against 2A Ferriday Tuesday night in varsity hoops action.

Following the Lady Bulldogs’ 78-48 victory, the boys took center stage and found themselves in a hole early, struggling against Ferriday’s two-platoon playing style, but ultimately pulled away 56-45.

Daryl Jones splits two Ferriday defenders in Natchez High’s 56-45 win against Ferriday Tuesday night at home. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Daryl Jones splits two Ferriday defenders in Natchez High’s 56-45 win against Ferriday Tuesday night at home. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

After NHS’ Ty Terrell made the first basket of the game, Ferriday went on a 12-0 run, before Ty’Ran Newman stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer. The quarter ended with Ferriday leading 12-6, however, fueled by turnovers created by a full-court press, the Bulldogs outscored Ferriday 25-9 in the second period. Natchez assistant coach David Haywood was proud his team kept their composure and battled back.

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“I was very impressed with that,” Haywood said. “I told them, ‘Just be confident in yourselves. Just stay the course.’ We picked up the tempo with our press.”

While Ferriday had an advantage in the low post with 6-foot-4 Dantreize Scott, 6-foot-5 J’Shon Foster and 6-foot-7 Darryl Rosenthal, Natchez used its finesse and up-tempo style to force throwaway possessions for the Trojans. Those miscues allowed Natchez to take a 31-21 lead into half. Ferriday coach K.G. Watkins said his team got too excited going against defenders pressed against them and made mental errors.

“We shot poorly off the free throw line, made too many errors in general,” Watkins said. “We were very sloppy. Far from our best game this season.”

Both teams scored 16 points in a third quarter that showcased better offensive execution for both squads. Scott’s post-play kept Ferriday in the game offensively, as he corralled one rebound after another and converted layups underneath the goal. Scott led the Trojans with 16 points, but left six points at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Daryl Jones’ ball-handling and ability to drive the ball on Ferriday continued to create offense for the Bulldogs. Jones finished with 14 points, while accurate sharpshooter Michael Morris led Natchez with 21 points.

The Bulldogs improved to 3-0 on the season, while Ferriday fell to 2-1 on the season. Haywood was happy to pickup the win, but knew playing Ferriday in the future with its young frontcourt would only get more difficult.

“Take nothing from Ferriday, those big kids are young (two freshmen and a sophomore), and they’re going to be good for a while,” Haywood said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle every time you play them.”

Natchez 78, Ferriday 48 (girls)

The contest between the varsity girls was far less dramatic than the boys, but the game took on a compelling start as soon as Natchez head coach Alphaka Moore sent her starters onto the court. Instead of the usual starting five, Moore sent her second unit in.

“It was to work in everybody else,” Moore said. “I was happy with the way they played, but we have some improvements to make on defense. That little stuff down the road is going to hurt us down the road.”

The little stuff Moore referred to was allowing Ferriday to drive to the basket and not sprinting back to get into position on defense. Those small miscues allowed Ferriday to produce offensively, cutting NHS’ lead to 37-24 after a 24-9 first quarter lead. Zyaire Ewing and Ernesha Chatman entered the game at the 3:27 mark of the second quarter. Kirdis Clark interrupted a 6-0 run for Ferriday, and the Bulldogs took a 41-26 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the half, Natchez started to pull away before Jada Griggs led Ferriday back to draw within 17 points of Natchez. That’s when Moore called on Chatman and Ewing to seal the deal in the third period. Chatman reeled off a 7-0 run that was sparked by a three-pointer, giving Natchez a 26-point lead, as the Lady Bulldogs went into the fourth quarter up 60-34.

“We ran out of gas,” Ferriday head coach Lisa Abron said. “I think we did ok, considering that they are a state championship team. They were just too dominant for us.”

Natchez improved to 4-0, while Ferriday fell to 3-1.