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Port Gibson ambushes Franklin

PORT GIBSON — In what was supposed to be a home game for theFranklin County Bulldogs Friday night, turned into a near two-hourjourney northward to Port Gibson. The Blue Waves flexed theirmuscles with a 53-48 trouncing of the Franklin girls, while theBulldogs suffered a tough 51-35 defeat at Port Gibson Arena.

Floor problems in Franklin County’s gym meant a switch inlocation. Both teams agreed to flip-flop home and away dates inaccordance to playing at Franklin County later this month onJanuary 18.

“They had some floor problems, so we switched dates and places,”said Port Gibson head coach Kim Windom.

The switch and a five-day layoff since their last game spelledtrouble for the Bulldogs and their fans Friday night as Port Gibsonproduced a rare sweep of the Franklin hardwood teams.

Port Gibson 51, Franklin County 35

In the boys’ game, Port Gibson raced out to a 23-17 lead beforestretching it to 43-29 after three periods of play. Silky smooth6-5 junior Denzel Marbley was nearly unstoppable in the post duringthe first three frames as he piled up 14 rebounds and 11 pointsbefore fouling out in the fourth period. The Blue Waves outscoredthe Bulldogs 8-6 in the final quarter.

“Our big people played well,” added Windom after the game. “Goodrebounding and controlling the tempo were our keys to winning thisone. We beat a very good team that is always well-coached.”

Port Gibson (11-8, 3-2) got an added nine points and ninerebounds from 6-4 senior Ryan Hendrick. Senior guard Jekel Smithissued 11 points and gathered seven rebounds and two steals.

For the Bulldogs (7-6, 2-1), 6-4 junior Marcus Tillman led allscorers with a game-high 14 points and 10 boards. Senior pointguard Deandrea Cameron added eight points.

Port Gibson 53, Franklin County 48

In the girls contest, Port Gibson opened the game with a quickand agile attack that netted them a 17-7 first quarter lead. At thebreak, the Blue Waves commanded a 33-20 advantage.

“We had a big lead but they got it down,” said Port Gibson headcoach Harold Liggans, a video coordinator for the WNBA’s HoustonComets. “Franklin County has a good team that is very strong. Theycut our lead down quick.”

The Lady Bulldogs (11-3, 2-1) watched Port Gibson take a 46-34lead into the fourth quarter, before finally breaking the deficitinto single digits. Franklin used a strong defensive effort tooutscore the Lady Waves 14-7 in the final frame.

“They came back, but we hung in there,” added Liggans. “The wayour district is you’ve got to win your home games and we did.”

Port Gibson (7-6, 3-2) got a game high 18 points and eightrebounds from Amina Palmer. Tonya Greer and Marineka Neal eachadded 13 points apiece.

For the Lady Dawgs, senior forward Ashley Weathersby led theteam with 12 points. Shalenia Wilcher added 11 points. VictoriaHunt chipped in with nine points.

Franklin travels to North Pike Tuesday evening for another keyRegion 7-3A battle while Port Gibson goes on the road to JeffersonCounty.