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Panthers sack S. Pike; Lady Panthers tumble

MAGNOLIA — Division 6-4A basketball action got under wayTuesday night at the Willie Earl Jones Coliseum, as rivalsBrookhaven and South Pike squared off. The green-and-gold hoststook the opening girls’ games and dropped the boys finale.

The South Pike Lady Eagles took advantage of a Brookhavenscoring drought in the final 5 minutes of the game and escaped witha 46-40 win over the Lady Panthers. Despite a third quarterletdown, the Brookhaven Panthers held on for a hard-fought 68-63win over the South Pike Eagles.

South Pike claimed a 36-26 win over Brookhaven in thepreliminary JV girls game.

The same two teams will assemble in the Sinclair Gym Friday fora tripleheader. A JV boys game tips off the festivities at 5 p.m. ADivision 6-4A varsity girls game starts at 6 p.m., and the boysgame around 7:30 p.m.

South Pike 46, Brookhaven 40

For three quarters, this game was tightly contested. Neitherteam held a lead larger than 3 points, evoking 2 ties and 26 leadchanges. In the final 5 minutes, the Lady Eagles used a 9-2 run toetch out the 6-point victory. DeAngela Bonds sacked the final 2baskets in the run to give South Pike their largest lead of thegame at 8 points, 46-38.

“This was an even ballgame,” said South Pike head coach MarcusFlippin. “But give Brookhaven credit, they have a good team. Theywill be in the thick of the race.”

Flippin was referring to the Division 6-4A race that could beany team’s to win. Other division members are Lawrence County,McComb, Terry and newcomers Jim Hill and Wingfield fromJackson.

Brookhaven (4-4, 0-1) trailed 10-9 at the end of the firstquarter. The Lady Panthers took their first lead of the game at11-10 on a basket by Ashley Sykes. There were 6 lead changes in theperiod, as head coach Billy Holmes saw his team behind at theintermission 20-19.

“We had some good shots,” said Holmes. “Got some good looks atthe baskets. The shots just would not fall.”

South Pike (7-4, 1-0) was led by Yolanda Grady with a game-high19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Bridney Fultz had 15 pointsand 8 steals. The Lady Eagles committed 18 turnovers, while forcingBrookhaven into a season-high 34 miscues.

“We had too many turnovers,” added Holmes. “Our defense playedwell.”

Senior post player Kristian McCray paced the Brookhavenoffensive with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Anna Autman had 6 points,10 rebounds and blocked 3 South Pike shots. Chiquita Rancifer had 3steals and dished out 4 assists. Ashley Leggett had 4 steals.

Brookhaven 68, South Pike 63

The Panthers (5-3, 1-0) maintained nearly a double-digit cushionthroughout the first half. Brookhaven was firing on all cylinders,taking a 24-10 lead into the second frame. Senior center JasperHall aided the early cause with 8 first quarter points. RodneyDaniels, Joaquin Smith and Micah Tanner contributed treys.

The Eagles (3-3, 0-1) could not find an answer for Brookhaven’sscoring spree. South Pike continued to miss easy scoringopportunities, and trailed 40-27 at halftime.

South Pike, under the direction of first-year head coach JoeTaylor, would not go away easily. The Eagles began to heat up fromthe outside, connecting on 4 3-point baskets. They outscoredBrookhaven 24-11 in the third period to trail by 2 points, 53-51,entering the final stanza.

“We needed to show patience in the third,” said Panther headcoach Ronald Hines.

Hines’ ballclub opened the final 8 minutes with a 9-0 run,capped off by a Daniels’ basket to give Brookhaven a 63-51advantage. Daniels finished the game with 12 points and 3steals.

South Pike continued their assault on the Panthers. The Eaglescut their deficit to 4 points, 67-63, on a basket by KedrickHerring with 35 seconds left in the game. Brookhaven was able torun the remaining time off the clock to secure the win.

Hall paced the Panthers with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blockedshots. Jermaine Culver had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.Ganeiro Richardson had 5 assists. Darius Perkins grabbed 7rebounds.

The Panthers held a decisive 39-27 edge on the boards, but SouthPike took the offensive rebounding bout 19-15.

Jonathan Williams led all scorers with 18 points and 4 stealsfor the Eagles. Senior Kevin McCoy added 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3blocked shots and 5 assists. South Pike committed only 12turnovers, and forced Brookhaven into 25 of their own.

In the JV girls game, Kenita Hudson and AlehsaIrvin each scored 6 points for Brookhaven. Latashia Marsalis ledSouth Pike with 11 points.