Natchez too much for Franklin County
MEADVILE – For 32 minutes, the Natchez High Bulldogs showcasedthe skill and promise of a number three-ranked team in the state,overwhelming rival Franklin County 79-63 in the boys contest and77-44 in the girls game.
Franklin County’s girls (2-7) were held scoreless for the firsttime in three years in first-quarter play as Natchez commanded a12-0 lead after the opening eight minutes.
In the second frame, Franklin rolled off 15 points only to seeNatchez score 18 for the 30-15 lead at intermission.
The second half featured a Franklin County explosion led bysenior point guard Carletta Brown who notched three treys in theperiod. Natchez answered with multiple Crystal Brown layups for a50-30 lead.
After numerous fouls by the Franklin girls in the fourthquarter, Natchez ended the game on an eight-point run.
“We couldn’t get it going,” said Franklin County girls coachAlbert Cain. “We made some good plays in the second half, but wewere down by 20 and 25 when we got it.”
Brown led the Franklin County attack with 21 points, foursteals, four rebounds and four assists. Sophomore power forward KimSmith added 11 points and four rebounds in the losing effort.
Leading the Natchez attack was Crystal Brown with 20 points, 11rebounds and two blocks. Angel Taylor chipped in 14 rebounds, 13points, four assists and three steals.
The 15-1 Natchez boys, currently ranked number three in thelatest state-wide poll. blasted Franklin with numerous steals andjumpers for the 19-5 first-quarter lead.
Natchez continued its balanced attack in the second frame,leading 43-27 at the half.
Franklin County (6-6) quickly entered the second half withmultiple baskets by senior guard Logan Jones, slicing the Natchezlead to 11 poin ts with 6:06 left in the frame.
The visitors responded with an inside paint show by 6-6 juniorsVashoun Newborne and Fred Thompson, quieting the home crowd as theBulldogs took a 56-39 lead.
Franklin tried one last rally in the fourth but fouls andsuperior offense by senior shooting guard Jamal Bouldin helpedNatchez savor the 79-63 advantage.
“We played poorly in the first half,” said Franklin County headcoach Chris Jordan. “We’ve got to put this one behind us and learnfrom it. Our focus has to change as division rival Hazlehurst comesin Friday.”
Leading Franklin was senior guard Demetrice Weathersby with 16points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two assists. Jones finishedwith 16 points and five rebounds.
In the JV boys game, Franklin County overtook Natchez 52-49.Securing the win for Franklin was sophomore guard Bobby Hendersonwith six points coming with 2:02 remaining in the game.
Sophomore center Anthony Wilcher led the Franklin County attackwith 15 points. Henderson collected 12 points.
Leading Natchez in the losing cause was Jereal Williams with 18points and Dennis Martin with 15 points.
Franklin ‘s next challenge comes Friday afternoon as Division6-3A rival Hazlehurst comes calling for the Dawgs. Tipoff is setfor 5 p.m. with a JV boys game. Varsity girls action starts at 6:05followed by the boys contest at 7:35.