The Vicksburg Post by Steve Wilson
The scoreboard seemed frozen in time as well. Cathedral led at the half 13-12. St. Al went nearly 10 minutes at one point without a field goal and the two teams didn't cross the combined 40-point threshold until the fourth quarter.
But Cathedral scrapped together a late 8-1 run in the final l:09 to earn a 34-28 Division 7-1A win.
After being down most of the contest, St. Al finally grabbed the lead with 2:17 remaining. Ann Garrison Thomas, who finished with a game-height 18 points, scored in transition on a layup and hit a short jumper in the lane to give St. Al its first lead of the second half.
But from there, it was all Natchez. Auka Kumi converted a putback in traffic, but couldn't convert a plus one opportunity. Crystal Beckwith and Kumi scored on layups and Taylor Beesley finished the run by converting two at the free-throw line.
"We were missing layup after layup after layup." Cathedral coach Randy Smith said, "Then we finally hit three in a row and it actually put us up where we could relax and play half-court man (defense.) I was happy with our girls' effort on defense. That's what won this game."
St. Al (6-8, 1-2) had its chances, as Thomas hit converted the front end of a bonus opportunity and Klaire Miller had a steal, but missed a breakaway layup with Cathedral leading 32-28.
The seeds of St. Al's demise were planted at the charity stripe, as the Lady Flashes went 6-for-18 in the second half.
"I don't think they were mentally prepared to beat Cathedral today," St. Al coach Cookie Johnson said. "We were down four when I realized we had missed 12 free throws. You have to have these to win a tight game like this."
Cathedral led at the end of one, 8-6, and at the break, 13-12. Thomas hit a one-and-one opportunity to give the Lady Flashes a brief 14-13 lead that would be their last one before the final two minutes.
Beesley led Cathedral (5-11, 1-0) with 10 points, while Kumi added nine.