Ferriday survives Franklin Parish in OT

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ferriday High School coach K.G. Watkins celebrates after the Trojans beat the Franklin Parish Patriots 55-53 in overtime. (ROD GUAJARDO / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday High School coach K.G. Watkins celebrates after the Trojans beat the Franklin Parish Patriots 55-53 in overtime. (ROD GUAJARDO / The Natchez Democrat)

Spectators rushed the court with their phones after Ferriday’s 55-53 overtime win against Franklin Parish, trying to capture Patriots coach David Rader lying motionless on the court.

Rader’s reaction was a result of a missed shot by one of his Franklin Parish players at the buzzer. Meanwhile, Ferriday coach K.G. Watkins breathed a sigh of relief and raised his hands victoriously in the air.

“We should have never been in that overtime situation,” said Watkins, who admitted his blood pressure had risen. “We talked about making free throws in the clutch, we talked about taking our time and putting the ball on the rim, but again, that just goes to show our inexperience with young players. We have a lot of freshmen on the floor, and they’re learning.”

A fast break opportunity created by a steal tied the game at 49 for Franklin Parish to enter the overtime period. The layup was one of the few field goals converted in the second half, as the game seemingly transformed into a free throw competition toward the tail end of the game, with both team trading fouls and free throw opportunities.

Watkins was displeased with his team’s effort in the fourth quarter, and after Dare Rosenthal and Dantress Scott dominated the second quarter with their post moves, the team shied away from its size advantage down low in the third quarter.

“We stopped doing what we were doing,” Watkins said. “We preached at halftime to keep playing the way we were playing, and when we came out, we got off of our game plan altogether.”

While Ferriday’s big men struggled in the second half, the Trojans back court picked up the slack, as Ronald Davis provided 11 points and Kerry Brooks scored 10.

Rosenthal had 10, Shannon Morales had eight and Scott produced seven points for the Trojans. Morales fouled out in the fourth quarter.

Though Watkins’ team allowed Franklin Parish to battle back from a 42-36 third quarter lead, he was happy to see his team show resolve in the overtime period.

“I was really proud our fortitude showed,” Watkins said.

The Trojans improve to 6-3 with the victory.

Earlier that evening, the Ferriday girls defeated Franklin Parish 62-45, thanks mostly to the team’s diamond press and the offensive presence of Jada Griggs.

Griggs, who has been producing 20-point performances all season long for the Trojans, lit up the scoreboard with 20 points in the first half alone, giving Ferriday a 32-16 lead at halftime.

“We want that out of her every night we come out here,” Abron said. “I’ve been expressing to her more and more each game that she has to step up.”

The Lady Patriots didn’t go down without a fight. Franklin Parish began the third quarter with an 8-0 run. Abron, then, elected to dial up a 1-2-1-1 press, also known as the diamond press. This is a strategy Abron hasn’t utilized since 2002.

“I used to run that years and years ago, and it worked with me with a smaller team, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s try that,’” Abron said.

The strategic move paid off as the girls forced multiple turnovers that generated points for the Lady Trojans, halting any thought of a Patriot comeback.

Ferriday is now 8-0 on the season.