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Floor Generals: Watts bringing ferocious style to Lady Wave team

Cathedral High School’s Mackenzie Watts dribbles with the ball against Monterey High School Friday. Watts took a break from the team two years ago, but is back on the hardwood for the Lady Wave. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral High School’s Mackenzie Watts dribbles with the ball against Monterey High School Friday. Watts took a break from the team two years ago, but is back on the hardwood for the Lady Wave. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — If hustling produces victories, Mackenzie Watts will lead the Cathedral girls basketball team to many wins in 2015.

With her long blond hair waving back-and-forth, Watts can change direction with the best of them, and it allows her to set the pace for Cathedral, coming up with steals and producing fast-break opportunities. It’s her true strength as a basketball player, so no wonder it’s her favorite thing to do on the floor.

“I like to steal the ball, and then I like to shoot,” Watts said. “I’d say that’s my favorite two things.”

But Watts’ high-energy, bulldog-like motor took a hiatus from the club two years ago. As a freshman, Watts was timid, but her talent allowed her to see some playing time. Going into her sophomore year, Watts thought she lost the passion to play, but watching from afar showed her otherwise.

“I missed it,” Watts said. “After watching my friends play, it really made me miss it. I realized that I had talent, and that I shouldn’t waste it. Since, it’s become my favorite sport.”

One of the friends she missed playing with was McKenzie Milligan, who Watts has been playing with since she was in third grade. Since Watts and Milligan rejoined forces as juniors, the two have developed chemistry alongside each other, and have had great success trapping defenders and forcing turnovers.

Head coach Randy Smith said both Milligan and Watts have been great senior leaders for his team, and have a knack for regaining the momentum for Cathedral.

“Mackenzie is good at getting momentum back,” Smith said. “She’s a great shooter. She can get steals and lay the ball up with both hands. Most girls can’t do that.”

Watts wasn’t always a great shooter, though. Watts will be the first to tell you that back in her days of being shy on the court, she would rush her shot, forcing an open opportunity to produce points.

“I feel like I’ve gotten better at shooting because my ninth-grade year… Good God,” Watts said, laughing. “Coach was even like, ‘You need to work on your shooting.’ But I have, and since, I’ve developed my shot and can help my team out a lot because of it.”

Chipper in her approach to the game, Watts is thankful to get the chance to play with her friends again. Ferocious on the floor with a deep down appreciation for the game, Watts’ role allows her to provide many momentum-changing plays for her team. It’s only appropriate Watts provides an electric charge.