Natchez High boys can’t turn good first half into victory
Published 2:13 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015
NATCHEZ — After playing a good first half, the Natchez High School Bulldogs came unraveled in the second half and eventually lost to the Wilkinson County High School Wildcats 74-65 Tuesday night.
After a back-and-forth first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie, Natchez High outscored Wilkinson County 21-15 in the second quarter for a 35-29 lead at halftime. Then the wheels fell apart for the Bulldogs in the second half — specifically in the fourth quarter.
“We’re just not finishing games like we start them. Tonight, it was a tale of two halves,” Bulldogs head coach David Haywood said. “The first half we played pretty decent. There were still some things to clean up. The second half of the last two games, we’re not executing down the stretch. They play too tight. They’ve got to play looser.”
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Led by Travion Jones and Jaquarious Stewart, the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 19-16 in the third quarter to cut Natchez High’s lead to just three points at 51-48. Then came the fourth quarter and it belonged to Wilkinson County as it almost doubled up Natchez High 26-14.
“We’ve got to turn the corner mentally. I don’t think it’s physical. The guys have to be more mentally tough,” Haywood said. “We missed 16 free throws. You can’t win many games leaving that many points on the table. I hope they clean up some mistakes and be more efficient at the free-throw line.
Jones led all scorers with 23 points while Stewart contributed with 19 points to lead the Wildcats in scoring. The Bulldogs were led by Jadarrious Ivory with 21 points and Izer Catrell with 19 points.
Wilkinson County next plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it hosts Amite County. Natchez High (2-4) plays at Jefferson County Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wilkinson County girls 52, Natchez High 23
NATCHEZ — After losing two of its last three games, the Natchez High School Lady Bulldogs got back to its winning ways with a 52-23 win over the Wilkinson County High School Lady Wildcats Tuesday night.
The two-time defending MHSAA Class 5A state champion Lady Bulldogs got back to playing championship defense as they held Wilkinson County to no more than seven points in any quarter.
After a rare home loss last Thursday night to Jefferson County, head coach Alphaka Moore said she was glad to see her team respond the way it did.
“I think they did a good job because they were focused. Not on the points or shutting down the opponent. It was about correcting their mistakes and I was proud of that,” Moore said.
Natchez High led Wilkinson County 13-6 after one quarter of play and 25-11 at halftime. It did not get any better for the Lady Wildcats as they were outscored by the Lady Bulldogs 14-5 in the third quarter and 13-7 in the fourth quarter.
“They did a good job (defensively),” Moore said.
Offensively, the Lady Bulldogs were led by Kirdis Clark with 13 points and Destiny Lyles with 12 points while Zyaire Ewing added nine points.
“Destiny’s doing a good job. Making sure she does her role on the team. She gets a lot of her points from rebounding. Kirdis is just being Kirdis – playing hard,” Moore said.
As for why Ewing’s point total wasn’t what it is used to being, it wasn’t because of foul trouble or any kind of defense Wilkinson County was using. Instead, it was getting the reserves some playing time.
“We just wanted to get some other girls in tonight. We need to see what we have and this (game) was the best time to do that,” Moore said.
Miesha Norman and Gadrieka Cotton led the still-winless Lady Wildcats with seven points each.
Wilkinson County (0-6) plays host to Amite County at 6 p.m. Friday. Natchez High (4-3) will look to avenge last week’s home loss to Jefferson County when it travels to Fayette to take on the Lady Tigers Friday at 6 p.m.