Natchez bursts WC bubble in second half
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2001
[12/24/01]Preston Wilson tried anything and everything to slow down Natchez and nothing worked.
After holding a 27-17 halftime lead, the Vikings (10-6, 0-2 Division 4-5A) watched as the 10th-ranked Bulldogs (17-3, 3-0) ripped off a 30-point third quarter en route to a 63-48 blowout.
The win also gave Natchez a huge boost in the division standings with three division wins, all on the road.
“We didn’t find a way to slow them down and they capitalized off of our mistakes,” said Wilson, in his first year with the Vikings. “They forced the pressure on us in the second half and it made the difference.”
Ja’Kel Foster led all scorers with 17 points 14 in the second half and Vashun Newborne had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Foster, who hit five treys for the game, was 4-of-5 from long range in the third quarter. Chris Logan added 12 on four 3-pointers three coming in the third. Natchez was 9 of 12 for the game on three pointers.
“We were worried how we were going to come back ourselves,” said Foster, who said his team has never been held to 17 points in a half before. “We picked up the defense and good things started to happen.”
Natchez used an 11-3 run to open the second half, cutting a 10-point deficit to two in 21/2 minutes.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 33 on a Newborne foul shot and back-to-back 3-pointers by Foster gave Natchez a 39-33 lead its first since early in the first quarter.
“We had too much confidence after the first half,” said WC’s Clifton Walker, who scored six points on a pair of treys. “We came out of the locker room in the second half like we had already won the game. I said in the dressing room it wasn’t over.
“When they started running, we dropped our heads like it was over.”
The Vikings never regained the lead it held throughout the first half, trailing by as many as nine late in the third quarter.
A Sherman Logan 3-pointer at the buzzer pulled WC within six to start the fourth, but a poor shooting effort in the fourth quarter dashed any hopes for a comeback. Logan had 11 to lead WC, while Ronnie Jones scored 10.
WC scored two fourth-quarter baskets both inside the final minute and hit three free throws. WC was 2-of-14 from the floor in the final period.
“We picked up the intensity on defense in the second half and played with a lot of heart,” Newborne said. “We were ready to play in the second.”
Natchez, which won two of three games and finished third in the Holiday Hoops Classic in Fayetteville, Ark., over the weekend, made 16 of 22 shots from the floor in the second half.
Warren Central used a 12-0 run in the second quarter to open a 25-12 lead with less than three minutes to play in the half.
“They were playing really good defense (in the first half),” Foster said. “We were taking a lot of outside shots instead of getting it into the post. They were able to get some fast breaks and get easy layups.”
The Vikings will be in action again Wednesday in the opening round of the Jackson Public Schools Tournament against West Lauderdale at Provine High beginning at 3 p.m.
“They shot the ball well and rebounded well in the second half,” Wilson said. “We just didn’t have the answer for them.”