West Jones boys rally to beat Natchez High; WJHS sweeps NHS in Region 5-5A action

Published 3:04 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

NATCHEZ — Down by one point with 10 seconds left, West Jones High School stole an inbounds pass that led to the go-ahead lay-up with three seconds remaining as the Mustangs rallied to defeat the Natchez High School Bulldogs 51-50 last Friday night in an MHSAA Region 5-5A game.

Natchez High had one opportunity to win the game, but its half-court shot didn’t even come close to the basket and West Jones had completed its amazing comeback on the road from a seven-point halftime deficit.

Bulldogs head coach David Haywood said he tried to call a timeout before the Bulldogs inbounded the pass up 50-49, but the referee said he didn’t hear it. That led the final of a slew of turnovers that Natchez High made throughout the second half.

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“We had five turnovers in the first half. We had double that in the second half,” Haywood said. “It was basically a tale of two halves. We basically controlled the first two quarters. They controlled the last two quarters.”

Haywood added that what the Bulldogs did to West Jones in the first half, the Mustangs did to them in the second half — get stops and force turnovers. He said his team had what he described as “bad-timing turnovers”, including the one with 10 seconds to go in the ball game.

Natchez High jumped out to a 20-13 lead over West Jones at the end of the first quarter, but the second quarter was just as pivotal as the third and fourth quarter for the Mustangs. 

Instead of the Bulldogs adding to their lead in the second quarter and potentially making it even harder for West Jones to mount a comeback, both teams scored 10 points in that quarter, giving NHS a 30-23 halftime lead.

Led by La James Ducksworth and Marlon Lindsey,, as well as a tough defense, the Mustangs outscored the Bulldogs 13-9 in the third quarter and 15-11 in the fourth quarter. Duckswoth led West Jones with 17 points and Linsdey finished with 12 points.

Natchez High (6-8, 0-4) was led by Kameron Carter with a game-high 19 points and Javeon Walker with 11 points. The Bulldogs played host to Region 5-5A foe Florence High School Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

West Jones girls 48, Natchez High 31

NATCHEZ — The West Jones High School Lady Mustangs rolled to a 48-31 victory over the reeling Natchez High School Lady Bulldogs in an MHSAA Region 5-5A match-up last Friday night.

Olivia Davis led the Lady Bulldogs with nine points. The defeat drops the Lady Bulldogs fell 7-9 overall and 0-4 in Region 5-5A. They played host to region opponent Florence High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Head coach Alphakea Moore said the defending district champions are a young team and their 0-4 start is due to inexperience. Fortunately for Natchez, their district record doesn’t mean anything for the playoffs, their district tournament will. 

“We just have to win our district tournament. I think it is possible. We are getting better game by game,” Moore said. “Our confidence level has grown. There is a lot of inexperience on my team playing against girls who have played in big games. We are growing in experience and I think it will help going into the tournament.” 

This season, they have played close with a lot of their opponents. However, they will lose consistency on offense or struggle defensively in a quarter and it costs them the game. In a district game against Brookhaven, they tied the Lady Panthers in scoring for every quarter except for one. It made a difference, she said. 

“We have to be consistent for four quarters,” Moore said. “When you have a young team, mental toughness plays a big part in closing out games. We have struggled with it this year. Right now, our mental toughness has caused struggles.”