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Tigers and Bobcats trade baskets in close youth contest

Bobcats Curtis Chambliss Jr. drives to the basket against the Tigers during their Southern Youth League basketball game Saturday. The Tigers won the game 23-21. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Bobcats Curtis Chambliss Jr. drives to the basket against the Tigers during their Southern Youth League basketball game Saturday. The Tigers won the game 23-21. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — With just one second remaining on the clock and trailing by two points, the Southern Youth Basketball League’s Bobcats needed a miracle to win their game against the Tigers or force overtime.

After inbounding the ball, a Bobcats player heaved the ball towards the basket.

It found the bottom of the net, but the shot wasn’t released in time, and the Tigers walked away with a 23-21 win.

“That is a good team, so this is an excellent win,” Tigers head coach Veronica Barnes said. “They’ve been waiting on that a long time, and they got it (Saturday).”

The two teams traded baskets for the majority of the first half, but a 4-0 run by the Tigers late in the half allowed them to take a four-point lead into halftime.

The Bobcats stormed back, though, but Barnes said she wasn’t nervous.

“I just told them, don’t let No. 21 or No. 1 shoot,” she said. “Keep them outside. Don’t let them get in from the top.”

The Tigers were able to do just that.

“They played great defense,” Barnes said. “They kept them out and did just what I asked them to do — play man-to-man.”

The Bobcats were forced to settle for long jump shots most of the game, but that didn’t necessarily take them out of the game, with players sinking a few.

Bobcats head coach Lawrence Smith said his team did well, but has the potential to perform better.

“We’ve played this team before,” he said. “We didn’t press up the floor like we used to and take care of business.”

Although only one team could win, Smith said it is evident there was plenty of talent on the floor.

“We’ve got some talent with some of these young guys,” Smith said. “They’ve got a long way to go, but they are starting off good. They play hard.”