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Panthers wear down Bears

Brookhaven’s smothering, full-court, pressure defense beganwearing down West Lincoln in the second half Tuesday night. Thethird quarter was decisive as the Panthers exploded for 32 pointsand roared to an 84-57 triumph, powered by Maurice Brown’s 15points.

Brookhaven was nursing a narrow 30-28 lead at halftime. CoachPreston Wilson provided the Panthers with a fiery halftime sermonwhich lit a fire. Center Corey Bryant and guard Matt Fitzsimmonsfollowed Brown with 13 points each.

“Our intensity was much better the third quarter,” said Wilson.His team improved their record to 9-1. They host McComb Fridaynight.

“Pressure defense is what we do best,” Wilson continued. “We tryto wear down teams in the third and fourth quarters.”

Sparked by Bryant and Fitzsimmons, the Panthers started thesecond half with a 6-0 run and a 36-28 lead. They went ahead by 12points, 44-32, on Brown’s jumper.

Brookhaven led by 23 points, 62-39, entering the final frame asthe Panthers created an impressive 54-point second half. WestLincoln, decisively outmanned on the backboards, was minus itsleading rebounder in senior Carlos “Big Dog” Johnson who wassuspended for breaking team rules.

The Bears (4-3) got a game-high 18 points from senior guardJamie Sisco. He also had 5 assists and 3 steals.

Sisco picked up his fourth personal foul and went to the benchwith 4:18 left in the third quarter and Brookhaven leading 46-30 ona pair of free throws by 6-5 post player Rayshaun Autman.

Guard Cody Mitchell pumped in 17 points for West Lincoln,sacking 3 treys. Forward Adam Rushing grabbed 8 rebounds and scored9 points. Late in the second quarter, the Bears took their lastlead at 26-25 on a baseline jumper by Mitchell.

Fitzsimmons brought the partisan crowd to its feet when heswished a buzzer-beating trey from 23 feet as the first half cameto a close.

West Lincoln coach Jason Case said foul trouble for Sisco andKalis Fells put his team in a bind. “Fells and Sisco had four foulsin the third quarter with four minutes left.

“Brookhaven’s depth and quickness got to us,” Case continued.”We got tired. When a team puts (press) on you for four quarters,you start to break down.

“Playing a strong team like Brookhaven will help us down thestretch,” said Case., “I’m proud of our kids They never quit.”

Case expects his Bears to make a strong showing in the LincolnCounty Tournament which starts Friday at Enterprise. West Lincolnplays Bogue Chitto in the opening round.