Jefferson County girls roll, WCHS boys earn win
Published 1:27 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016
By TAYLOR DENMAN
The Natchez Democrat
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NATCHEZ — Jefferson County High School girls basketball improved to 9-0 in district play with a 70-27 at Wilkinson County High School Tuesday night.
“We played pressure defense,” Jefferson County head coach Flora McKinght said. “They turned it over, and we went into our transition. That’s our style of play.”
Jefferson County’s transition offense was executed to near perfection and resulted in double-digit scoring efforts from its two post players. Diamond Smith scored 19 points and racked up 12 rebounds and Antrell Gales had another 19 points in addition to eight rebounds.
“It’s an advantage to have two big girl who can run the floor, block shots and rebound,” McKight said.
Jefferson County held Wilkinson County to singe digit scoring in three of the four quarters. Jefferson County outscored its opponent 19-4 in the second quarter and stretched out to a huge lead at the half.
Smith said the way Wilkinson County had to defend the interior with the zone also provided room for Jefferson County’s perimeter shooters to knock down shots.
“They sat in on us,” Smith said. “Then our guards would shoot from time to time.”
Kailynn Hammett was the one of the scoring by products of Wilkinson’s focus on the interior on defense. Hammett facilitated the offense at guard and cashed in for 11 points for Jefferson County.
Wilkinson County head coach Trimika Gaines brought up the topic of confidence at the end of her team’s 33-point defeat.
“Confidence will carry you a long way,” Gaines said. “You must have the heart, determination and will to play whether you feel like the team is the best or the worst.”
Miesha Norman led Wilkinson county in scoring with 10 points.
Jefferson County sits atop region 3A as the No. 1 seed for the district tournament, which will begin next week. Jefferson County will play Franklin County of Friday in the final game of the regular season and play its first opponent in the district tournament on Thursday.
Wilkinson County has its eyes set on a No. 4 or No. 5 seed.
“Going into district, I feel we should be able to compete,” Gaines said. “If we give 110 percent out there we’ll be in a good position.”
Wilkinson County boys 78, Jefferson County 65
It seemed that whenever tbe Jefferson County boys basketball team could cut Wilkinson County’s lead to a few possessions, turnovers kept the Tigers from coming within striking distance.
Wilkinson County grinded out a 78-65 win over Jefferson County at home Tuesday night. Head coach Julius Anderson harped on the dedication his squad put in over the past week as it enters the final two games of the season.
“(The players) feel like, as a team, that they are the best,” Anderson said. “To be the best, you have to play like the best. They stuck it out in practice, and did everything they need to do all week long to prepare to come out to play.”
Wilkinson County and Jefferson County are still grappling for a No. 1 seed in the district tournament next week. Jefferson County currently holds the No. 1 spot after Hazlehurst High School lost to Franklin County Tuesday night. Friday, the final day of regular season games, will be critical to seeding. Wilkinson County plays Wesson at home and Jefferson County plays Franklin County at home.
Travion Jones and LaHendric Bruster both posted 24-point games and led Wilkinson County in points.
Christian Day led Jefferson County in scoring with 24 points including three 3-pointers and Josh Day accompanied him with 16 points before fouling out late in the game.
Turnovers kept Jefferson County from going on the scoring runs it needed to keep pace with Wilkinson County, and head coach Marcus Walton said his team was hurt most by rushing on offense and settling for bad shots.
“Discipline wins ball games,” Walton said. “We’re not doing a good job of making every possession count because we’re not being very disciplined on the ball court.”
Jefferson County sits at 6-3 in the district. A win over Franklin County will clinch a No. 1 seed in the district tournament. Wilkinson County will need some help from Jefferson and Hazlehurst for the No. 1, so Anderson is preaching focus to his squad in the last week of the season.
“Keep pressing,” Anderson said. “Faith, consistency and hard work is our motto, so that is what we’re going to live by.”