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Banquet honors Brookhaven soccer, basketball players

Ayana Tillman in girls basketball, Brandon Caston in boysbasketball, Laura Waldrop in girls soccer and Judson Langston inboys soccer were named Most Valuable Players at Monday night’sBrookhaven Winter Sports Banquet. Athletes in soccer and basketballwere honored at the awards dinner held at the Brookhaven/LincolnCounty Multi-Use Building.

br>Stan Patrick served as master of ceremonies. Brookhavenathletic director Tucker Peavey complimented the teams for theirefforts during the season and thanked the booster clubs for theirsupport. Mike Brister, minister of students at First Baptist,provided the invocation. Brister also produced a video showhighlighting the basketball and soccer seasons.

BHS varsity girls basketball coach Billy Holmes recognized hisLady Panthers for their accomplishments in his first year at thehelm. They reached the semifinals of the Division 6-4A Tournamentbefore being eliminated by South Pike, the eventual divisionchampion.

“We had some good times and some bad times,” said Holmes. “Westruggled to stay together and we worked hard to get better.”

Holmes said the highlight of the season was beating McComb inthe division tournament. “That was probably our best game of theseason.”

Tiffany Watkins was named Best Defensive Player and Tillman waschosen Best Offensive Player. Tillman, a senior center, averaged 14points and 8.4 rebounds per game, earning all-division honors.

Kristina McCray was recognized as the Scholastic Award winnerand Panther Award recipient. She maintains a 4.0 GPA in theclassroom.

Assistant coach Terri Hall recognized the freshman team members.She thanked them for their efforts during the season.

Ronald Hines, Brookhaven’s first-year boys varsity basketballcoach, directed the Panthers to a 25-6 record and the divisiontournament championship. “We have a goal to win a statechampionship,” said Hines. He said the Panthers watched Lanier andProvine play in the state tournament “to see what it takes to playfor a championship.”

Dexter Middleton received the Panther Playmaker Award. LamarHall was recognized as Best Offensive Player and Jasper Hall wasnamed Best Defensive Player. Mario Flintroy received the ScholasticAward and Rodney Daniels was named Mister Hustle. Philip Tobias wasnamed Most Improved. Caston was recognized as permanent teamcaptain. Middleton and Caston were named to the all-divisionteam.

Assistant coach Dan Presley recognized the freshman squad andpraised them for their performance.

Basketball Booster president Wesley Kerr congratulated theplayers and coaches for their efforts during the season and thankedthe booster club for their work in the concession stand. Hepresented gifts to Hall, Holmes, Hines and Presley.

Soccer Awards

BHS soccer coaches Kevin Bower and Rob McCreary presented awardsto their boys and girls teams.

In girls soccer, Waldrop, a freshman received the ScholasticAward. Taylor Crane was recognized as Most Improved DefensivePlayer and Brittany Smith was named Most Improved Offensive Player.Christi Autrey was named Miss Hustle. Jessie Pigott was BestOffensive Player and Allyson Wallace Best Defensive Player.

In boys soccer, Langston and Zach Harrison were recognized asTeam Captains. Domenick DiPaolo and Maurice Irvin were named BestDefensive Players. Josh Brister was named Best Offensive Player andJosh Crawford was named Most Improved Defensive Player. Guy Orrreceived the Most Improved Offensive Player award and Lane Loftonwas named Mr. Hustle. Tedrick Ratcliff received the ScholasticAward.

DiPaolo, a senior goalkeeper, has been named to the MississippiAssociation of Coaches South All-Star team.

The Panthers won their fourth straight division championship andposted a 12-4-2 record, advancing to the second round of the stateplayoffs.

Soccer Booster Club president Carolyn DiPaolo congratulated theteams for their accomplishments. She also thanked Peavey,Superintendent of Education Dr. Sam Bounds and BHS principal SusanChapman for their support during the season. She recognized CoachMcCreary for his seven years coaching the Panthers. McCreary isofficially stepping down as soccer coach.

The senior boys and girls team members received jersey numberpatches for their letterman’s jackets. Bower gave thebenediction.