Bulldogs, Lady Bulldogs right ship against Jefferson County

Published 12:04 pm Monday, December 13, 2021

NATCHEZ — Jayden As-Sabor had his best offensive game of the season as he led Natchez High School with a game-high 18 points as the Bulldogs held on for a 55-51 win over the Jefferson County High School Tigers last Friday night.

Natchez High head coach David Haywood said he wanted As-Sabor, a senior forward, to play more aggressively instead of passing the ball to his teammates so much. And he did so, starting early in the game.

“He drove to the goal one time on a break and made a dunk that was contested. That allowed him to play more aggressively during the game,” Haywood said. “Jayden played pretty consistently.”

Another player who stepped up for the Bulldogs was junior guard Branden Paige, who scored 11 points and brought some much-needed energy to the team on both ends of the court.

“We weren’t forcing any turnovers and we had trouble moving the ball around. When Branden came in, he was able to control the ball a little bit and his defense gave us some energy. He did really great for us in this game,” Haywood said.

Elvis Jenkins finished with 12 points, including two key free throws late in the game that sealed the victory for Natchez High – especially when the Bulldogs were struggling from the line in the fourth quarter.

Haywood added that his team’s effort was pretty consistent throughout the game. That was until the fourth quarter, when Jefferson County head coach Delvin Thompson wanted to play the free-throw game. And it almost worked for the Tigers.

“They started to foul. Jefferson County played really hard. We had a comfortable lead and we missed a few free throws and that closed the gap,” Haywood said. “We missed a good bit of free throws that allowed them to stay in the game and make a run at the end. Elvis went to the line toward the end and made two free throws. We didn’t make many free throws in the fourth quarter, but he was able to finish the game up for us.”

Natchez High jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the end of the first quarter before outscoring Jefferson County 17-13 in the second quarter for a 27-17 halftime lead. The third quarter was even more competitive than the second quarter was, but the Bulldogs were still able to outscore the Tigers 19-17 for a 46-34 lead.

Jefferson County put up 17 points while the Bulldogs scored just nine points in the fourth quarter, but the home team was able to escape with the win. The Tigers were led by Stanley Starks with 16 points, Knowledge Ragin with 15 points, and KeDavion Catchings with 10 points.

Natchez High (4-5) plays host to Franklin County High School Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Natchez High girls 34, Jefferson County 21

NATCHEZ — Mercedes Sewell scored a game-high 10 points and Zamonie Wilson stepped up offensively with eight points as the Natchez High School Lady Bulldogs defeated the Jefferson County High School Lady Tigers 34-21 last Friday night.

Sewell was the only player for either team to score in double figures in this low-scoring game between the two rivals. Natchez High scored just two points in the third quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs’ defense made sure that Jefferson County would not mount a big rally.

“I think we played a good game overall,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Alphaka Moore said. “I think we struggled in the third quarter with scoring. But I think we played well overall as a team.”

The Lady Bulldogs controlled the action on both ends of the court throughout the first half. They jumped out to a 15-4 lead over the Lady Tigers after one quarter of play and then used a 10-1 advantage in the second quarter for a 25-5 halftime lead. 

While Natchez High struggled mightily to get shots to fall in the third quarter, Jefferson County didn’t fare much better with six points and still trailed 27-11. The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Bulldogs 10-7 in the fourth quarter, but it was not nearly enough.

“Overall, I think that our point guard, Nyla (Poole) did a good job controlling the tempo. Jaliyah Wright stepped up offensively. We had some good play defensively in the post from Zamonie and Mercedes,” Moore said.

Poole and Wright each scored two points, but they impacted the game with their passing and ball control. Destinee Scott added six points for the Lady Bulldogs.

Jaliah Pree and Indiyah Thomas led the Lady Tigers with six points apiece and Albriona Tyler chipped in with four points.

Natchez High (4-5) hosts Franklin County High School at 6 p.m. Friday.