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Panthers prevail in OT; Lady Panthers zap S. Pike

The Brookhaven Panthers had to go into overtime with South Pike.The Panthers narrowly escaped the Eagles in James A. SinclairGymnasium with a 60-57 Division 6-4A Tuesday night win.

In the varsity girls game, senior forward Nikki Blakely explodedfor 32 points as the Brookhaven Lady Panthers picked up a key 68-55Division 6-4A win over the South Pike Lady Eagles on Tuesdaynight.

Brookhaven defeated South Pike 61-50 in the JV boys game.

Brookhaven entertains Division 6-4A foe Crystal Springs onFriday. The JV boys game tips off at 5 p.m., followed by thevarsity girls game at 6. The varsity boys game is set to begin at7:30.

Brookhaven 60, South Pike 57

The Panthers (22-5, 1-1) overcame a sluggish first half to sendthis game into overtime, and eventually pulled off the win. Theslow start nearly cost Brookhaven this game but timely free throwshooting at the end authored this victory.

“We shot free throws well tonight,” said Panther head coachPreston Wilson following the game. Wilson was referring toBrookhaven’s 17-for-21 effort from the charity stripe, including9-for-12 in the final 12 minutes.

Brookhaven could not find an answer for Eagle star CavadasNunnery. Nunnery, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, penetrated the Pantherdefense for 10 first quarter points, as South Pike jumped out to a14-8 lead.

The Panthers went through a 6-minute scoring drought in thesecond frame. Matt Fitzsimmons ended the drought with a trey at the1:45 mark of the period. Brookhaven trailed 28-19 at halftime.

South Pike (13-13, 0-3) started to lose its grip in the third. Abalanced scoring attack by Brookhaven allowed the Panthers to getback into this game. Wilson’s ballclub claimed their first lead at35-34, on a short jumper by senior forward Maurice Brown with 2:13left in the third.

Both teams would swap leads for the remainder of the game.

South Pike carried a 40-39 advantage into the final stanza.Eagle Marques Wilks hit 1-of-2 free throws to give South Pike a49-48 lead with 1:39 left in regulation.

Panther Corey Bryant nailed 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with1:10 left to tie the game at 49-49, sending the game intoovertime.

In the extra session, Bryant and Dontae Dixon scored 9 ofBrookhaven’s 11 points in the 4-minute period. Dixon’s 3-for-4shooting from the free throw line, and Bryant’s inside play provedto be the difference. Bryant led the Panthers with 15 points and 8rebounds. Dixon had 3 steals and dished out 4 assists.

Nunnery tried to keep South Pike in the game, but several missedscoring opportunities by the Eagles led to their downfall. Nunneryled all scorers with 33 points, including 11-for-13 from the freethrow line.

Brookhaven 68, South Pike 55

The Lady Panthers (14-8, 2-0) are sitting atop the division racewith their second division win of the season. The first one was a46-35 win over Lawrence County, at Monticello on Dec. 8. Brookhavenhead coach Ronald Gill and assistant Terri Hall were pleased to getthe win.

“I am happy to get the win,” said Gill. “Nikki had a really goodgame for us.”

Blakely was the catalyst for Brookhaven, as she pumped in 9points in the opening period. Sophomore Aneidra Stanton chipped inwith 6 points off the bench, as the Lady Panthers claimed a 23-15lead, entering the second quarter.

The Lady Eagles (14-12, 0-3) used the 3-point area as theirlaunching pad. South Pike, coached by Joe Leavy, connected 3 timesfrom behind the arc in the period.

Both teams would cool off in the second. Brookhaven carried an11-point, 35-24 into the halftime locker room.

Lady Eagles’ Tiffany Aych ,Taccaro Downs and Erika Hollowaycombined for 14 of South Pike’s 18 points in the third. Four treysby the Pike County trio brought their deficit to single digits onseveral occasions. Coach Leavy’s ballclub trailed 50-42, headinginto the final frame.

Aych led South Pike with 15 points, including 3 treys. Hollowayadded 14 points.

Blakely tossed in 18 points in the second half, including 10 inthe final 8 minutes. Sophomore center Ayana Tillman grabbednumerous rebounds in the period, which led to ample scoringopportunities on the offensive end.

Blakely pulled down 11 rebounds. Tillman grabbed 16 rebounds, 10coming on the offensive side and blocked 3 shots. Stanton had 5steals and dished out 5 assists.

In the JV boys game, Brandon Caston pumped in 12 points forBrookhaven. South Pike was led by Jason Brown with 17.