Panthers slip past South Pike Eagles
Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2002
PORT GIBSON – Day Two of the Division 6-4 Tournament saw threescintillating games go down to the wire. The Brookhaven-South Pikeboys finale was no exception. The Panthers used a play from thegridiron to hold on for a narrow 59-56 win over the Eagles.
In other first round games, the McComb girls defeated LawrenceCounty 77-72 in overtime. The host Port Gibson girls squeaked byTerry 46-44.
Semifinal action gets under way this afternoon with fourmatchups. The Brookhaven girls meet Port Gibson at 4 p.m., followedby the Brookhaven-Terry boys at 5:30. The McComb girls take onSouth Pike at 7, followed by the McComb-Port Gibson boys at 8:30.Today’s winners move to the finals on Friday, with the girls gameat 6, followed by the boys game at 7:30.
The Panthers (19-8) took a page out of a footballplaybook to secure this victory. With 19 seconds left on the clock,Brookhaven called timeout. Coach Dan Presley and his players wereall on the same page. They all knew what they wanted todo.
“The kids asked me to run this play that we ran inpractice,” said Presley.
The play involves one player lining up on each block andthe other two on the ends of the free throw line. Another playertakes the ball for the baseline play to set it in motion. FredMackabee threw the ball in. After a series of tight screens by histeammates, junior guard Brandon Caston broke free on a fly patterndown the center of the court. Caston caught the ball off a bounce,dribbled twice and came to a jump-stop underneath his offensivebasket.
Caston head-faked 2 Eagle defenders, as they came flyingby for an attempted block. He calmly laid the ball in the basketoff the glass with 5.1 seconds remaining in the game.
Brookhaven came out of the starting gates slowly,trailing most of the first quarter. Brookhaven kept it close andrealized its first lead of the game ,13-12, on a 3-point basket bysenior forward Fred Mackabee.
Coach Presley and assistant Aurelio Quinn saw their teamclaim a 19-14 lead heading into the second. Mackabee led allscorers with 20 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.
South Pike (16-14), coached by Joe Leavy and JulianNunnery, trailed 33-24 at the intermission. The second quarter wasa virtual standstill as Brookhaven outscored South Pike 14-10 inthe period.
The Eagles were pesky throughout the third period,holding a 15-9 advantage. Leavy’s ballclub closed their deficit to1-point, 36-35, on a basket by Lakendrick Nathaniel. The Eagleswere down 42-39 entering the final chapter.
Eagle forward Stacey Forrest hit 2 free throws with 18seconds left on the clock and South Pike trailed 57-56. That wouldbe as close as they would get.
A Brookhaven timeout was called to set up their finalpossession. The Panthers were determined not to lose thisgame.
“We were a little sluggish at first,” added Presley.”South Pike has a good team and they never gave up.”
South Pike called timeout to set up a possiblegame-tying shot. McCoy’s 3-point shot bounced off the rim, and 2offensive putbacks fell harmlessly off the rim. The Panther bencherupted in jubilation as the final horn sounded.
Lending support for Brookhaven was Caston with 13points, 6 assists and 2 steals. Rayshone Autman pulled down 6rebounds. Lamar Hall had 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
McCoy led the Eagles with 19 points, followed byNathaniel with 13 points.
Brookhaven 59, South Pike 56
Brookhaven (59) Fred Mackabee 20, Brandon Caston 13, hall 9,Middleton 7, Autman 6, J. Hall 2, Tobias 2.
South Pike (56) Kevin McCoy 19, Lakendrick McDaniel 13, Forrest9, Jones 9, Magee 4, Smith 2.
Total Fouls: Brookhaven 13, South Pike 15. Fouled Out: None.Technicals: None.
Free Throws M-A: Brookhaven 5-10, South Pike 9-11.
3-point goals: Mackabee 2, Hall, Middleton, McCoy.
17 – 56
17 – 59