Bulldogs upset Long Beach to advance to second round of MHSAA playoffs

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

LONG BEACH — After pulling off an upset over Florence High School last Friday afternoon in the girls’ third-place game of the 2023 MHSAA Region 5-5A Tournament to keep their season alive, the Natchez High School Lady Bulldogs were in upset mode once again Monday night.

This time the victim for Natchez High’s Lady Bulldogs was the Region 7-5A No. 2 seed Long Beach High School Lady Bearcats in the first round of the 2023 MHSAA Class 5A State Playoffs.

Olivia Davis led all scorers in a low-scoring game with 11 points while Mikiah Proby added nine points as the Lady Bulldogs stunned the Lady Bearcats 38-34 to advance to the second round.

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“I think we played strong. We did some uncharacteristic things down the stretch, but we were able to keep our composure and win the game,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Alphaka Moore said. “Being in that level of competition, I think we made some decisions defensively and offensively that hurt us and kept the game close.”

Moore then said once again that her team was able to regain its composure and finish the game to hold on for the four-point victory. She then added that both teams battled hard and that neither team wanted to go home this early in the postseason.

Natchez High did something it had not done in recent weeks – get off to a good start. The Lady Bulldogs played well on both ends of the court in the first quarter, which ended with the visitors leading Long Beach 16-10. The second quarter didn’t see either team do much scoring, but the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Bearcats 8-4 for a 24-14 halftime lead.

Long Beach would not go away quietly, however. Not on its own home court. Led by Kenya Lacour and Caiya Brown, the Lady Bearcats outscored the Lady Bulldogs 13-11 in the third quarter to cut the lead to eight points, 35-27. And even though Long Beach would hold Natchez High to just three points in the fourth quarter, it was able to take advantage on the offensive end, putting up just seven points themselves.

With the win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 14-13 overall and will take on someone coach Moore knows very well in the second round at 6 p.m. Friday — the Region 6-5A No. 1 seed Laurel High School Lady Golden Tornadoes.

“Laurel is a competitive team, a tough team. However, I think we come from one of the toughest districts in the state, so I think we’ll be able to handle them,” Moore said. “And it’s my alma mater, so I’m looking forward to it.”