Natchez misses opportunities in second half, Ole Brook pulls away to win

Published 12:55 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

NATCHEZ — Last Tuesday night’s MHSAA Region 5-5A opener between Natchez High School and Brookhaven High School turned out to be what could have been for the host Bulldogs as they fell to the Panthers 68-39.

After getting out to an 18-11 lead in the first quarter, Brookhaven only managed to increase its lead by two points in the second quarter and took a 35-26 lead over Natchez High into halftime. But in the second half, the Bulldogs could not take advantage of the opportunities they had while the Panthers did.

“I think we missed a bunch of free throws and we had a bunch of open shots we missed,” Bulldogs head coach David Haywood said. “Things got out of hand late in the third quarter. The first half, they were up by nine points by halftime. We missed seven free throws and six lay-ups at that point.”

Haywood added if the Bulldogs had made a few of those free throws and lay-up, they either would have been down by just a point or two or perhaps even leading the Panthers at the half and the momentum would have been on their side.

Instead, Brookhaven continued to make its shots in the second half and, in the process, the Panthers’ confidence continued to grow. On the other hand, it seemed as if the basket had gotten smaller for the Bulldogs over the final two quarters.

“We started to lose confidence as we continued to miss open shots,” Haywood said. “They just continued to play hard. They were confident in what they were doing. I think we’re a much better team than we showed last night. We had a great game play. We just didn’t make our shots.”

Javeon Walker led Natchez High with 12 points and Preston Jackson added 11 points. Anthony Sanders led the Panthers (11-7, 1-0) with a game-high 19 points and Jemeriuntia Jackson scored eight points.

Natchez High (5-0, 0-1) next plays at Region 5-5A foe West Jones High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.