Natchez High hoops teams get key sweep over North Pike in MHSAA Region 3-5A action

Published 2:20 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School’s varsity basketball teams, playing for the first time since last Friday night because of the brutally cold and wintry weather earlier in the week, came away with a key sweep of MHSAA Region 3-5A opponent North Pike High School last Thursday night.

In the varsity girls’ game, Roniya Ellis, Mikiah Proby, and Caleah Kennedy each scored in double figures as the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs held off a second-half rally to defeat the North Pike Lady Jaguars 45-43 at the Mary Jean Irving Gym.

It was a tale of two halves between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Jaguars in this game. Natchez High jumped out to a 14-7 lead on North Pike at the end of the first quarter and then the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Jaguars 18-10 in the second quarter for a 32-17 halftime lead.

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“I think we played well in the first half. We were very consistent across the board from scoring to defense to rebounding,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Alphaka Moore said. “In the second half, I think we struggled to score in the third quarter and down the stretch.”

Moore added that it her team’s struggles to get shots to fall more so than any changes North Pike made in the second half that allowed the Lady Jaguars to get back in the game. The Lady Bulldogs were outscored by the Lady Jaguars 12-5 in the third quarter and 14-8 in the fourth quarter.

Ellis led Natchez High with 13 points while Proby contributed with 11 points and Kennedy poured in 10 points. Amari Barnes led North Pike with a game-high 15 points and De’Asia Hudson chipped in with 13 points.

“Overall, I think we played well. We were able to maintain and finish strong,” Moore said. “Overall, my first group of starters played well. Roniya played well and controlled the tempo of the game. The trio of Caleah Kennedy, Mikiah Proby, and Zamonie Wilson helped out on the boards.”

The Lady Bulldogs improved to 15-5 overall and 4-1 in Region 3-5A. They traveled to Ellisville to take on region foe South Jones High School at 6 p.m. Friday.

In the varsity boys’ game, Preston Jackson had 13 points as the Natchez High Bulldogs defeated the North Pike Jaguars to get back above .500 in the Region 3-5A standings.

Despite the win, Bulldogs head coach David Haywood said he was not thrilled with his team’s overall performance.

“We were able to win the game, but we didn’t play up to our abilities. We played hard at times, but we didn’t get a rhythm on offense,” Haywood said. “Our defense was very inconsistent. But we were able to get that win. We’ll use that as a learning tool to clean up our play for this final stretch in this (region).”

The Bulldogs are now 13-6 overall and 3-2 in region play. They played at South Jones High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.