Slow start dooms NHS on road; Cathedral falls to Salem

Published 12:03 am Sunday, March 1, 2015

PASCAGOULA — Pascagoula High School’s outside-inside duo of Montrell Shepard and Jaylen Smith was too much for Natchez High School to handle as the Panthers rolled to a 75-46 win over the Bulldogs Saturday night in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A South State Playoffs.

Shepard, a sharpshooter from the outside, led all scorers with 21 points. Smith, a 6-2 small forward, did most of his scoring on put-backs and finished with 13 points. Eleven players for Division 8-5A champion Pascagoula ended up in the scoring column.

But that wasn’t the only thing that Natchez High had trouble with. The Bulldogs also couldn’t get much going offensively in the first half against a stingy Panthers defense and found themselves down by 21 points at halftime.

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“We had a slow start. We missed a couple of easy shots and some free throws. They put some distance between us and that gave them some confidence,” Natchez High assistant coach David Haywood said.

Pascagoula jumped out to a 15-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and led Natchez High at the half, 34-13.

“Their defense was kind of sticky and very disruptive,” Haywood said. “We played hard defensively when we were able to press. Early on, we didn’t make enough shots to set up our press.”

The Bulldogs finally got shots to fall in the second half. Unfortunately for them, the Panthers would not allow them to make much of a dent in their big halftime advantage. Natchez High did outscore Pascagoula 16-13 in the third quarter, but Pascagoula responded with a resounding 28-17 advantage in the fourth quarter.

“We knew (Montrell) could spot up and make threes. He did his job and made the shots. A lot of Jaylen’s points came because we tried to get back to their shooters and on offensive rebounds. We just had an off night tonight,” Haywood said.

Ty’Ran Newman finished with 11 points and Daryl Jones added 10 points for the Bulldogs. Natchez High finished with a 13-9 overall record.

Salem 80, Cathedral 53

TYLERTOWN — A barrage of three-pointers during a 31-point third quarter allowed Salem Attendance Center to open up a huge lead as the Wildcats went on to defeat the Cathedral Green Wave 80-53 Saturday night in the second round of the MHSAA Class 1A South State Playoffs.

Even though head coach Peter Arnold said Cathedral did not play very well in the first half, the Green Wave played well enough to stay in the ball game. They were down just 18-15 after one quarter of play and 28-23 at halftime.

“We made the first shot of the third quarter to cut it to a three-point lead and the next thing I know, we’re down 15. They made four straight three-pointers,” Arnold said. “They drove to the basket on us in the first half. We tried to keep them from doing that in the third quarter and they found the open shooter.”

Salem (27-2) ended up making six three-pointers and outscored Cathedral 31-10 in the third quarter for a commanding 59-33 lead. Julius Faulk led the Wildcats with a game-high 28 points and Leonardrick Riley had 13 points.

Jardarius Anderson led the Green Wave with 13 points, Connor Mire chipped in with eight points, and James Coley and Wyatt Boothe each had seven points.

“With all the guys that are sick, we didn’t have any fight. They outplayed us and they deserved to win the game,” Arnold said. “But the flu bug hit us at the worst possible time. That was nowhere near what we’re capable of playing. I’m proud of the guys. We played our best ball at the end of the season. We just came up one game short of the state tournament. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”

Cathedral ended up with an overall record of 11-11.