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Panthers rout Hazlehurst in semis; reach title game

Looking impressive Friday night, the Brookhaven Panthersoverpowered the Hazlehurst Indians 90-52 in the semifinals of theBrookhaven Coca-Cola Invitational in Sinclair Gymnasium. They werepowered by guard Matt Fitzsimmons who scored 17 points in less thanthree quarters of playing time.

The Panthers (21-4) played McComb in the championship game.McComb defeated Crystal Springs 63-51 Friday night in a semifinalstest. McComb’s girls also reached the finals, beating CrystalSprings 69-62, powered by Sheree Thompson’s 41 points. In aconsolation boys game, Loyd Star held off Bogue Chitto 65-61.

The Panthers showcased their depth and shootingskills as a near-capacity crowd watched the blowout. Hazlehurst(8-17) battled Brookhaven through the first quarter, trailing22-21. The Indians fell behind by 12 points at halftime, 43-31.

“It was a good win,” said Brookhaven head coach Preston Wilson.”All of our players got a chance to play. Our starters got to resttheir legs.”

Wilson, leading 70-41 starting the fourth quarter, put fivereserves on the floor. Following Fitzsimmons was playmaker DontaeDixon with 14 points and guard Fred Mackabee with 13.

On the backboards, reserve Bruce Washington led the Pantherswith 7 rebounds.

Hazlehurst was led by senior forward Mario Gary’s 14 points.Gary was named to The Daily Leader’s All-Area BasketballTeam as a junior.

The Indians made a game of it in the first quarter, overcoming a13-5 deficit. A pair of free throws by point guard Greg Banks putthe Indians ahead by 4 points, 21-17, with 1 minute left in thefirst quarter. Banks finished with 12 points.

Brookhaven took permanent control of the scoreboard at 30-28when Dixon hit a baseline jumper with 4:07 left in the first half.Dixon’s 2 free throws capped an 11-1 run and Brookhaven led39-28.

Loyd Star 65, Bogue Chitto 61

The Bobcats produced a 25-point fourth quarter but LoydStar managed to prevail. Leading Loyd Star (8-10) was guardDemarcus Barnes with 17 points. Seth Britt chipped in 14 points andJermaine Hunter 13.

Bogue Chitto, trailing 50-36 at the start of the fourthquarter, got 20 points from guard Carlos Brown. Marc Howard pumpedin 19 points.

McComb 63, Cr. Springs 51

The McComb Tigers were led by V.J. Carr’s 20 points.Charlie Allen added 16 points.

Crystal Springs got 20 points from Jesse Taylor and 11from Timothy May.

McComb 69, C. Springs 62

Senior guard Sheree Thompson exploded for 41 points tospark McComb over the Crystal Springs girls. Thompson scored 18points the fourth quarter and collected 5 treys in thegame.

Crystal Springs was led by Stacey Lee with 22 points andEbony Jenkins with 17.

BOYS

Brookhaven 90, Hazlehurst 52

Hazlehurst (52) Mario Gary 14, Catchings 2, Banks 12,Smith 2, A. Gary 7, W. Harris 5, T. Harris 3, Mayman4.

Brookhaven (90) Matt Fitzsimmons 17, Bryant 2, Mackabee13, Dixon 14, Caston 5, Brown 8, Allen 5, Autman 6, Perkins 2, K.Smith 6, Chism 3.

Total fouls: Hazlehurst 16. Brookhaven 20. Fouledout-none. Technicals-Hazlehurst bench, Brookhavenbench.

Free Throws M-A: Hazlehurst 13-15. Brookhaven16-17.

3-point goals: Mackabee 3, Fitzsimmons 2. Dixon 2, M.Gary, Chism, Allen, Caston, Chism.

Hazlehurst 21 10 10 11 – 52

Brookhaven 22 21 27 20 – 90

Loyd Star 65, Bogue Chitto 61

Loyd Star (65) Demarcus Barnes 17, S. Britt 14, Hunter13, Calcote 9, J. Britt 10, Sones 2.

Bogue Chitto (61) Carlos Brown 20, Howard 19, Ferguson7, Black 8, Addison 3, Smith 2, Dunn 2.

Total fouls: Loyd Star 15, Bogue Chitto 22. Fouledout-Hunter, Howard, Ferguson.

Free Throws M-A: Loyd Star 14-26. Bogue ChittoNA

3-point goals: Brown 4, Howard 3, Ferguson, S.Britt.

Loyd Star 12 16 22 15 – 65

Bogue Chitto 11 15 10 25 – 61