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Defense sinks Lady Panthers

South Pike went to work on defense in the second half Tuesdaynight and overwhelmed the Brookhaven Lady Panthers 48-26 inSinclair Gymnasium. They were powered by point guard JessicaStallings with 10 points.

Brookhaven (11-15, 1-5) concludes regular season play Fridaynight at Natchez. The Division 6-4A Tournament tips off Tuesday atSouth Pike in Magnolia.

In their last home game, the Lady Panthers got 8 points eachfrom forward Shamika Gilmore and guard Tiffany Watkins. Seniorcenter Ayana Tillman suffered an ankle sprain in last Friday’s lossat McComb and wore a brace for last night’s game. Tillman waslimited to 4 points and Brookhaven only scored 12 points the secondhalf.

“Our strong point is trapping at half court,” said South Pikesecond-year head coach Marcus Flippin. “We wanted to put pressureon Brookhaven’s guards.”

Flippin’s Lady Eagles are 22-2 overall and 5-0 in the divisionrace. They need a Friday night win over Lawrence County to securethe No. 1 seed in next week’s division tournament.

Flippin only starts one senior in Chenautis Robinson whofinished with nine points. Four juniors are in the starting lineup.Center Ebony Field had 7 rebounds.

“We were in trouble when (South Pike) started attacking us withtheir press,” said Brookhaven first-year head coach Billy Holmes.”We couldn’t’ seem to dribble through it.”

Brookhaven led 9-8 at the close of the first quarter beforeRobinson launched a South Pike rally. She scored 3 field goals inan 8-2 run and the Eagles led 18-12.

Playing with intensity and enthusiasm, the Eagles almost shutout Brookhaven in the fourth quarter. Gilmore’s rebound and putbackwere the first points in the final frame and they came with 1:20left to play. Gilmore scored the remaining points on a field goaland a free throw. She finished with 6 rebounds.