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Natchez avenges Oak Grove loss with 10-point victory at home

Natchez High School’s Ty’Ran Newman drives to the basket against Oak Grove High School Friday. Newman scored 10 points in the 68-58 win. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High School’s Ty’Ran Newman drives to the basket against Oak Grove High School Friday. Newman scored 10 points in the 68-58 win. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — After falling by 14 on the road in Hattiesburg, the Natchez High Bulldogs were looking for revenge Friday night against Oak Grove.

They were able to do so in front of a capacity Mary Jean Irving Memorial Gymnasium, on senior night, 68-58.

“It is a big win,” Natchez assistant coach David Haywood said. “They are a very good 6A team. They got us at home, and I just wanted to come back here in our place and defend our home court.”

The Bulldogs played inspired, led by their senior class, en route to the win.

Senior Daryl Jones led the way with 20 points and seniors Dominique Mazique and Michael Morris added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“I have a lot of respect for (the seniors),” Haywood said. “Every time we take the floor, people come in and we are undersized. But they play. I tell them, ‘Just continue and keep your foot on the gas pedal and doing things right, because you’ll end up winning some games not many people think you can win, besides the people in your own locker room.’”

The Bulldogs did just that.

Both teams went back and forth in the first half, with Natchez taking the advantage into the break, 34-28. But it was the end of the third quarter that caused an eruption in the gym.

Mazique pulled up from half court and sank a shot as the buzzer sounded, causing chaos throughout the stands and the giving Natchez the momentum they needed to finish the Warriors.

“I really want (the atmosphere) back like that,” Haywood said. “The kids really do feed off the fans and they need that support from the community.”

With the win, Natchez rides a high heading into postseason play, but the Bulldogs are being cautious not to get too far ahead of themselves.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum,” Jones said. “But we still have a lot of work to put in. We are constantly working to get better.”