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Panthers dump Natchez; Lady Panthers fall 45-44

Natchez veteran head coach Mary Irving and assistant Sue Johnsonwatched as their Lady Bulldogs overcame a 15-point deficit in thesecond half, to steal a 45-44 victory over the Brookhaven LadyPanthers Monday night.

In the varsity boys game, the Natchez Bulldogs nearly overcame adouble-digit deficit of their own. An offensive rebound and a pairof free throws by center Corey Bryant allowed the BrookhavenPanthers to hold on for a 51-46 win last night in SinclairGymnasium.

Bryant held game-high honors with 18 points.

Brookhaven travels to Utica to meet Hinds AHS on Thursday night.A JV boys game begins at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity girls at6. The varsity boys game is slated to start at 7:30.

The Lady Panthers (1-3) seemed on the verge of extending theirwinning streak to 2 games. Brookhaven defeated Franklin County51-36 Saturday night.

Brookhaven led 12-7 after one period of play and entertained a28-18 lead at the intermission, as Julianna Wallace had 9 of herteam-high 13 points in the first half.

The Lady Panthers had a 38-23 lead midway through the secondhalf before the Lady Bulldogs mounted a furious comeback.

With the score tied at 44-44, Natchez’s Crystal Brown canned1-of-2 free throws with 8 seconds left in the game to give the LadyBulldogs a 45-44 lead.

Brookhaven had several opportunities to win the game. A 3-pointbasket was missed. An offensive rebound was put back, but time hadalready expired.

Wallace had 15 rebounds. Nikki Blakely, the team’s leadingscorer at 18.3 points per game, was held to season-low 6 points.She added 7 rebounds.

Both teams combined for 64 free throws in the game. Neither wassuccessful at the charity stripe as Brookhaven was 9-for-26; whileNatchez did not fare much better at 12-for-38.

The Panthers (4-0) always have a tough time with the visitorsfrom Adams County and this contest was no different. Brookhaven is8-2 against Natchez over the last 5 years.

The first and second periods were mirror images of each other.Brookhaven outscored the Bulldogs 14-13 in both quarters to take a28-26 lead into the halftime locker room.

The Panthers held an 11-point advantage, 36-25, late in thethird before Natchez started to mount their comeback. Brookhavenused a balanced scoring attack to carry a 40-31 lead into the finalperiod.

Bulldog Jamal Bouldin canned a pair of treys in the fourth. Hissecond 3-pointer of the period pulled Natchez within 4, 47-43inside of a minute to play.

Bryant put an offensive rebound in for a basket and hit 2 freethrows with less than 15 seconds on the clock to ice the win forthe Panthers.

Following Bryant in double digits for Brookhaven were MattFitzsimmons with 12 points and Maurice Brown with 10.

Bouldin scored 16 points for Natchez head coach Mike Martin.

In the JV boys game, Brookhaven’s Nick Eley led all scorers with16 points. Anthony Griffin and Derrick Jarvis paced Natchez with 10points apiece.