• 70°

Brook girls take out Dexter

MCCOMB – The Brookhaven High girls and boys basketball teamsreturned to the hardwood Thursday afternoon, following theChristmas break. The McComb gym was the site for the opening roundof the McComb Coca-Cola Classic.

The Panthers dropped a 42-38 decision to the Amite (La.)Warriors. The Lady Panthers prevailed over the Dexter Lady Bulldogs55-51 behind 17 points and 5 rebounds from junior center AyanaTillman.

The Panthers will take on Dexter in a loser’s bracket game at12:30. The Lady Panthers will meet the winner of South Pike/Amite,La. at 2 p.m. today.

The Panthers (10-3) seemed a bit rusty in their firstaction since a Dec. 21 matchup with Bogue Chitto.

Neither team was able to put away from the other. Thelargest lead for both teams was only 5 points, with Brookhavenentertaining a 13-9 advantage after one period of play. Coach DanPresley’s squad relentlessly hit the boards, but were unable toconnect on the easy shots.

Amite, La. (6-5), coached by Alvin Stevens, saw hisballclub fight back to a 20-20 deadlock at theintermission.

“We were a little sluggish at the start,” said Presleyfollowing the game. “By the time we woke up, it was toolate.”

The Warriors regained the lead for good at 27-26 on abasket by Damon Herven at the 1:49 mark of the third quarter.Herven paced Amite with 14 points, and his teammates carried at5-point, 31-26 advantage into the final stanza.

Brookhaven tied the game 4 times in the period. The lastcoming at 36-36 on a pair of free throws by senior forward FredMackabee, with 1:30 left in the game. The Warriors sank 4 freethrows in the final 90 seconds to get the win.

Mackabee led all scorers with 17 points, 9 rebounds and5 assists. Dexter Middleton had 9 rebounds and Lazeric Perkinspulled down 6 boards.

“We are missing too many free throws,” added Presley.Presley was referring the Panthers’ 3-for-7 effort from the charitystripe.

The Lady Panthers (12-1) were happy to get the victory,but it did not come easy.

“We are 12-1 and beat a very good Dexter team,” echoedBrookhaven head coach Ronald Gill following the game. “We playedwell in spurts. We need a complete game.” Gill was referring to theLady Bulldogs who finished third in last year’s Class 1A tournamentin Jackson and more consistent play for his squad.

Brookhaven was force on the boards. Using the defensive reboundsto jump start the offense, the Lady Panthers raced to a 14-9 leadat the end of the first quarter. Tillman and Shameka Gilmore wereinstrumental on the boards, with that momentum taking theirteammates to a 25-20 lead at halftime.

Dexter (8-5) showed why they will be a force to reckon with inClass 1A. The Lady Bulldogs gained a 33-32 lead at the end of thethird, on a basket by Carmen Gamble. Gamble led all scorers with 18points.

The lead changed hands 5 times with 4 ties in the final 8minutes. Brookhaven claimed the lead for good at 50-48 on a pair offree throws by Aneidra Stanton, with 1:17 left on the clock.

Stanton followed Tillman with 11 points, 4 assists and 2 steals.Gilmore added 5 rebounds. Watkins dished out 3 assists.