Just out of reach: Natchez girls, boys fall to Forest Hill in close district contests

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2018

According to coach ShaRhonda Gipson, the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs got a dose of exactly what they needed Friday night.

Natchez dropped a close district game to Forest Hill, 51-49, and Gipson hopes it shows her team just why determination matters.

“This is a tough loss,” she said. “I was pretty upset, but once I talked to them I could see how upset they were, too. Sometimes it takes a loss like to this to open their eyes.”

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Natchez led for the majority of the game, pulling ahead with almost all shots coming from under the rim.  It struggled to set up timed baskets, but chipped away to lead by as many as 10 points in the third quarter. Slowly, Forest Hill made its move and took advantage of the Lady Bulldogs’ miscues for the edge at the end of the period, 37-36.

Despite the falter, Gipson said she wasn’t worried.

“Down in the home stretch, we still had ample opportunities to take control,” she said.

But, the Lady Bulldogs just couldn’t get anything to work. They missed five free throws in the final quarter, while also missing easy baskets and continuing their miscommunication on both sides of the ball.

“We missed free throws, we missed layups, we missed a wide open floater shot,” Gipson said. “Even with everything we did in the third quarter, we could have taken control of the game in the last minute.”

While Gipson said the loss is definitely an eye opener, she still thinks Natchez (9-8, 1-2) is in good position for the later part of the season.

In her first year as head coach, Gipson has seen a lot of positivity.

“At the end of the day, I still think I’m in good standings,” she said. “Last year they finished 9-16, so if I win one more game that puts me on top of the record I came into.

“My girls are young. We have seniors, but some of them are freshman when it comes to playing time. Your first year is always your hardest year, but at the end of the day we are still going to play.”

With a drive to win — at least that one more game — Gipson is hopeful.

“Maybe, it takes a loss like this to show them that this team was not better than you but they came in your house and beat you,” she said. “It should make them work a little harder.”

Forest Hill (boys) 72, Natchez 68, OT

Natchez dropped its first district contest of the season Friday, falling in overtime to Forest Hill, 72-68.

Izzy Holmes led the Bulldogs (13-4, 2-1) with 26 points, while Charles Credit added another 13 points. Forest Hill’s Ladarius Marshall scored 26 points for the Patriots.