SPLIT DECISION: Natchez girls, Ferriday boys take wins

Published 2:48 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016


FERRIDAY — Natchez High School is the reigning two-time state champion in MHSAA Class 5A.

On Tuesday night, this season’s version of the Lady Bulldogs proved to be equally as potent.

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Ignited by Kirdis Clark and Skylar Morgan, who finished with 25 and 20 points, respectively, Natchez raced past Ferriday High School 74-53 in girls basketball action.

“We have a lot of things we have to work on,” Natchez coach Alphaka Moore coach said. “They did pretty good, but there are still a lot more areas where we need to improve.”

The Lady Bulldogs (8-5) demonstrated their strength from the opening tip, leading 23-9 at the end of the first period and 42-20 at halftime.

Clark paved the way in the early going, scoring 19 of her points through the first two periods.

“It was all my teammates passing me the ball,” Clark said. “We were running out (on offense), we were playing defense and getting opportunities on offense. We played as a team.”

The junior guard also chipped in with four rebounds and four assists, while Morgan tallied 12 rebounds.

“(Clark and Morgan) work hard on and off the court,” Moore said. “You appreciate the effort they give day in and day out.”

Shaniqua Hilliard led Ferriday (5-9) with a team-high 17 points.

“I thought we handled ourselves exactly the way I asked them to,” Ferriday coach Lisa Abron said. “I told them to compete with Natchez and respect their game. I think we did a good job of that, considering. (Hilliard) did very well on the inside, as far as rebounding is concerned. I thought that she did pretty good in that area.”

Meanwhile, Lakeshanna Harris recorded 15 points, and Anasia Turner had 11 points.

“We’re getting ready for district play,” Abron said. “We’re trying to finesse our press — that’s what we’re known for doing. It’s coming along, and I can see some good things happening.”

“We just didn’t knock down some easy shots that we should have, and we turned it over when we shouldn’t have. That’s how it goes sometimes, and I give Natchez credit, they came to play (Tuesday).

Natchez will look to sustain the momentum it established when it travels Friday to Brookhaven High School.

“We’re just taking each game one at a time,” Clark said. “But we’re going to have to block out (better); defense wins game, and we have to make more free throws.”

Meanwhile, Ferriday will seek to reverse its fortune when it travels to Block High School Friday.

“We have another chance to work on (our press) a little bit more, and we’ll be ready.”

Ferriday (boys) 49,

Natchez 38

Ferriday High School led from the opening tip to the final whistle as it topped Natchez High School 49-38 in boys basketball action Tuesday night.

The Trojans (9-5) dominated the interior as Dantrieze Scott and Zaderrius Rosenthal combined to reject multiple shots and help their squad control the rebounding advantage.

“I’m happy with the way we played — the defensive end more so than anything else,” Ferriday coach Kirfred Watkins said. “We had quite a few offensive mistakes — bad passes — but that’s just kids being young. Defensively, I thought we played one of our better games, but it’s a good thing to see us starting to come together as we get closer to district.”

Natchez (1-6) started out trailing 12-0 midway through the first quarter. But the Bulldogs never quit. Natchez managed entered the fourth quarter with an opportunity to win trailing 35-30.

“Early on we missed a couple easy shots around the basket, and we didn’t get a couple of rebounds and they got some easy layups,” Natchez coach David Haywood said. “Overall, I’m proud of those guys’ effort for the way they fought and played hard on defense.”

Scott and Ronald Williams led Ferriday with 12 points apiece, while Rosenthal chipped in with 10 points.

“We aren’t really that heavy with big guys, but we have a lot of athletes,” Watkins said. “If we can stop the guys from taking the middle and just let our big guys worry about getting up on the boards, then that helps our game a lot.”

Larry Griffin led Natchez with 11 points.

“This was a good game,” Haywood said. “It was back-and-forth. … They had size, but we used our quickness. They get the (win), and we get the (loss), but there’s a lesson to be learned from it.”