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SIZE MATTERS: Scott, Ferriday overpower Jonesboro-Hodge, win 62-50

Ferriday High School's Ronald Davis looks to make a pass against Jonesboro-Hodge Tuesday night. Ferriday won the game 60-52 to claim the district championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday High School’s Ronald Davis looks to make a pass against Jonesboro-Hodge Tuesday night. Ferriday won the game 60-52 to claim the district championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

FERRIDAY — The Ferriday Trojans’ gym was packed with fans anticipating a district championship Tuesday night.

The fans cheered on that district championship win in the form of a 60-52 Ferriday victory against Jonesboro-Hodge, but it was one play in particular that had the gym rocking like it was 2008 again, when the Trojans went on to play for a state championship. With 3:03 remaining in the second quarter, Ferriday freshman standout Dantreize Scott got ahead on a breakaway, and the crowd rose to its feet, knowing what was coming next. Dare Rosenthal, another freshman big, lobbed a pass toward Scott, who soared high and slammed it down hard with one hand, causing Ferriday’s gym to erupt and Jonesboro-Hodge to call timeout.

“I can appreciate that because it’s been such a long time since Ferriday has had that ability, but my thing was with the boys was, ‘Hey, it’s two points. We have to keep playing,’” said Ferriday head coach K.G. Watkins.

After the slam and the timeout, all five Ferriday members on the floor huddled on the court, celebrating and riding the wave of momentum the crowd generated.

“The momentum goes up after something like that,” said point guard Ronald Davis, who scored 16 points for the Trojans. “Last year, we didn’t have anybody who could do that. When the crowd gets up like that, yeah, that gives us a lot of momentum.”

The play gave (16-9) Ferriday a 27-18 lead in the second quarter, and though Jonesboro-Hodge would make runs in the third quarter to close the gap to three points, Ferriday would answer with its post players on the opposite end, dominating the rebounding and riding Scott’s athleticism to a respectable victory. Scott led the Trojans with 22 points.

Despite a 16-8 first quarter advantage by Ferriday, Watkins thought his team didn’t utilize its size advantage enough, settling for outside shots when the Trojans had most of its success in the paint.

“I’m not really happy with the way we played, but I’m OK with the result,” Watkins said. “I think we played sloppy on offense and defense. I think we came out a little overhyped because it was for a district championship.”

Ronald Williams scored nine points, while senior Shannon Morales scored six points on senior night.

Ferriday closed the game on an 18-11 run in the fourth quarter to secure the district title and improve to 9-1 in district play. Ferriday entered the game as the No. 6 team in the LHSAA Class AA power rankings.

Before the boys brought the crowd to its feet, the girls were delivering some excitement of their own when they had the No. 5 team in LHSAA Class AA power rankings on the ropes. Without two of its best players that were dismissed from the team, Jada Griggs and Kesia Mason, the (18-9) Lady Trojans fell behind 15-6 in the first quarter, but Ferriday would then go on a 6-0 run and take an 18-17 lead in the second quarter.

“We played with a lot of heart tonight,” said Ferriday head coach Lisa Abron of the Lady Trojans’ ability to fight back.

Lakeshanna Harris, who led the Lady Trojans with 20 points, led the way for Ferriday, creating steals and sparking the second quarter rally. However, after tying the game at 21, Jonesboro-Hodge would go on a 30-10 run in the next two quarters en route to a 68-44 win.

Despite the loss, Abron said her girls showed what they were made of, fighting valiantly and not making excuses.

“I’m proud of them,” Abron said. “I only have one senior on this team, so we have a lot to look forward to. Even though we’ve lost these last couple of games, we’re still going to make the playoffs.”