Give Holmes Credit: Natchez senior, junior duo aid district victory down stretch

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2018

Natchez High School’s Izzy Holmes sank 8-of-9 free throws, while Charles Credit added eight points himself within the final four minutes to help the Bulldogs pull away from Wingfield Friday night, 67-64.

While Natchez coach David Haywood said he trusted his bunch — including the upperclassmen duo — to finish strong, he noted the district win didn’t come without determination.

“I knew Wingfield. No matter how high or low, they are going to continue to fight,” Haywood said. “I knew coming in, it was going to be a good game. No matter who started off good, it was going to be the last three or four minutes in the game that made the difference.”

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Holmes — a senior — ended the game with 22 points to lead the Bulldogs, including his eight in the fourth quarter.

After last week’s overtime win against Brookhaven, Haywood said free throws have been a crucial part of practice.

“We were able to make a couple today,” he said. “Last week, it’s what sent us into overtime because we missed free throws. We have really been trying to concentrate and focus at the line. Our guys are way better shooters than what they have been displaying.”

After a lead of up to 12 points in the first half, Natchez had the edge by just one point at halftime, 31-30.

The Bulldogs trailed by a handful continuing late into the final period until Credit — a junior — drilled a 3-pointer with 4:10 remaining. It gave the outright lead to Natchez for the remainder of the game.

Credit also sank another long shot with less than two minutes to go, and added two more points off of free throws. He finished the night with 13 points.

“I was hoping he didn’t go in to shoot a layup and I was screaming for him to pull up because I just felt like he had the confidence to make a big shot,” Haywood said.

Credit added he was also happy with the turnout.

“It feels great,” he said. “My team was really grinding to get the win, because we knew we had it. The way I feel, there is no team that can mess with us.”

With the win, Natchez (13-3) keeps its district record perfect at 2-0.

“I think we showed some resilience,” Haywood said. “The last couple of games were smooth for us. We didn’t have that smooth flow tonight. It was a rough game, but we got it done. It does a lot for them mentally when it happens like that.”

Natchez 50 (girls), Wingfield 48

The Lady Bulldogs held on for a close win Friday, edging out Wingfield, 50-48.

Aja Carter led Natchez (9-8, 1-1) with 26 points, while Tierres Smith scored 10.

Both teams will be back in action Tuesday when they host Franklin County.