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Jones lifts South Pike over Brookhaven 65-64

Fred Jones and his South Pike teammates spoiled Brookhaven’sSenior Night. Jones sank a last-second jumper from the lane,lifting the Eagles to a thrilling 65-64 Tuesday night victory overthe Panthers in Sinclair Gymnasium.

South Pike (10-12, 3-2) overcame the Panthers in the closingseconds as Jones, a 5-foot-6 guard, scored his team’s final 8points. The Eagles have the opportunity to finish second in thedivision race, depending on the outcome of Friday night’s home gameagainst Lawrence County.

The loss broke Brookhaven’s heart and left the Panthers (20-5,3-3) seeded fourth in the Division 6-4A Tournament which startsTuesday, Feb. 11, at Magnolia. Most importantly, it placedBrookhaven in the same side of the bracket with No. 1 seedMcComb.

“I figured we needed a shot and I took it,” said Jones whofinished with a game-high 23 points, scoring 10 the fourth quarter.”We came ready to play. We didn’t play our best but we won thegame.”

A short jumper by Jasper Hall on an inbounds play had given thePanthers a 64-63 lead with 13 seconds left to play. In the final 61seconds of the game, Brookhaven missed three free throws. Seniorguard Brandon Caston missed the front end of two 1-and-1s.

“Those one-and-ones we missed were real big,” said BHSfirst-year head coach Ronald Hines. He was deeply disappointed bythe last-second setback.

In the second quarter, Caston had sacked 3 straight treys as thePanthers forged a 29-24 lead over the Eagles. Brookhaven led 35-34at halftime.

“Fred has been playing good the last three of four games,” saidSouth Pike coach Joe Leavy. “We are young and we always seem tostart slow because we get a lot of our kids so late,” due to thestate football playoffs. Jones is the starting quarterback.

Kevin McCoy followed Jones with 18 points. McCoy had 13 pointsat halftime. A jumper by McCoy had given the Eagles a 4-point,55-51 advantage with 5:49 left in the game.

Brookhaven senior guard Dexter Middleton had rallied thePanthers, outrunning defenders and making 4 straight layups.Middleton’s driving layup put the Panthers on top 59-57 with 2:05remaining.

Middleton and senior center Lamar Hall scored 14 points and 6rebounds. Lamar Hall Hall grabbed 9 rebounds.

In the JV boys game, Micah Tanner’s 11 pointspaced the Panthers to a 55-42 triumph over South Pike.