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Crystal Springs Tigers ambush Brookhaven

CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Brookhaven and Crystal Springs closed out thepre-Christmas portion of their schedules Friday night in theCrystal Springs gym. It would be the host Lady Tigers and Tigersdishing out a pair of losses to the visitors.

The Lady Tigers scored on a basket by Corissa Tillman with under7 seconds remaining and held on for a slim 45-44 win over theBrookhaven Lady Panthers.

In the varsity boys game, the Tigers took advantage of theiroffensive rebounding opportunities to forge a 67-61 win over theBrookhaven Panthers.

Brookhaven posted a 21-20 win over Crystal Springs in the JVboys game.

Brookhaven returns to basketball action Friday, Dec. 26, in theMcComb Coca-Cola Invitational Tournament. The Panthers meetHammond, La. at 4 p.m., followed by the Lady Panthers taking onSumner, La. at 5:30 p.m.

Crystal Springs 45, Brookhaven 44

The Lady Tigers (10-3) were relentless on the offensive boardsthroughout the evening. The game was tied at 12-12 entering thesecond quarter as head coach Michael McKinney saw his team score 6points on second chance baskets.

Brookhaven (6-6) forged a 2-point lead, 26-24 at halftime,despite missing several free throws (4-for-12) in the half.

“We missed too many free throws,” said Brookhaven girls headcoach Billy Holmes. The Lady Panthers were 13-of-28 (48 percent)overall from the charity stripe.

The Lady Tigers kept the contest close on several baskets byDominique Whitfield. Crystal Springs trailed 34-33 entering thefinal stanza.

Brookhaven garnered a 44-43 advantage on a basket by seniorforward Latoria Kerr with 18 seconds left on the clock.

The Lady Tigers, on the ensuing inbounds play, put the ball inthe hands of their point guard (Tillman). She knifed through theLady Panther defense to score the potential game-winner. Tillmanled all scorers with 14 points.

Kerr missed a shot just inside the midcourt line as timeexpired.

“We got outhustled and outrebounded,” said Holmes following thegame. Brookhaven outrebounded Crystal Springs 36-35, but the LadyTigers held a 19-12 edge in offensive rebounding. McKinney’s squadscored 10 points on their offensive caroms, compared to only 4 bythe Lady Panthers.

Kerr and Chiquita Rancifer led Brookhaven with 10 points apiece.Kristian McCray grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 3 assists.Portia Dickey had 8 rebounds. Blanche Wilson had 2 steals and 4assists. Anna Autman had 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Crystal Springs 67, Brookhaven 61

The Tigers (10-3) used quickness on the offensive end and asmothering defense to author a narrow 14-12 lead at the end of thefirst quarter. Courtney Welch tossed in 5 points in the period, andfinished with a team-high 15 points.

Brookhaven (7-5) came roaring back with 3 consecutive treys byScott Pickett and Jermaine Culver (2) to take a 24-18 lead. ThePanthers would eventually forge a 31-31 deadlock at theintermission.

The Tigers took a pair of 5-point leads in the third period,before settling for a 49-47 cushion entering the final stanza.

The Panthers led 55-51 on a basket by senior Joaquin Smith withover 5 minutes left in the game. Head coach Ronald Hines saw hisballclub go nearly 4 minutes without scoring, falling behind on an11-0 run by Crystal Springs.

Micah Tanner brought an end to the run with an offensiveputback. Brookhaven came no closer than 3 points, (62-59) in thefinal 1:21 of the contest.

“We did not shoot free throws well tonight,” said Hines who wasreferring to his team’s dismal 6-of-19 shooting at the free throwline. “We were outhustled and outplayed.”

Brookhaven outrebounded Crystal Springs 37-31, including 17-16on the offensive end. The Tigers scored 14 points on their end,versus 8 points by the Panthers.

Panther forward Rodney Daniels led all scorers with 17 points (3treys). Pickett and Culver each had 10 points. Jasper Hall pulleddown 13 rebounds, had 3 steals and dished out 5 assists. Smith had4 assists. Culver had 7 rebounds.

Crystal Springs got support from DeMario Smith and JenarioMartin with 10 points apiece.

In the JV boys game, Brookhaven’s Wade Stewartled all scorers with 8 points. Christopher Fortenberry led CrystalSprings with points.