Comeback lifts BHS girls over McComb Lady Tigers

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

Senior Night seemed to bring out the best in Brookhaven’s LadyPanthers but it took a while. Exploding in the second half Fridaynight, Brookhaven knocked off McComb’s Lady Tigers 46-36 inSinclair Gymnasium, powered by Anna Autman’s 19 points and 12rebounds.

Brookhaven (18-11, 9-3), seeded third in this week’s Division6-4A Tournament at McComb, sent a message to the rest of the field,beating the No. 1-seeded Lady Tigers (22-5, 10-2) for the secondtime in two weeks. The Lady Panthers outscored McComb 33-18 in thesecond half.

For seniors Autman, Kristin McCray, LaToria Kerr, ChiquitaRancifer and Brianna Patton, the game was special. During aceremony between the varsity games they were presented with along-stem red rose and greeted by their parents at midcourt.

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“I knew if we could get organized at halftime, we could comeback and win,” said BHS girls coach Billy Holmes. “We were playingpretty good defense but we just couldn’t get our offense going. Wemissed Blanche (Wilson).” Wilson missed the game due to aseason-ending ankle injury suffered a week ago.

“We talked about it at halftime,” said Holmes. “Our wholedefensive game plan was to shut down No. 31 (Jasmine Patterson) andNo. 24 (Samantha Felder).”

Felder had 9 points at halftime when McComb led 18-13. Pattersonfinished with 4 points.

Brookhaven caught McComb at 18-18 when McCray banked in a shotoff the glass. Autman followed with 2 putbacks and Kerr pumped in atrey, giving the Lady Panthers a 25-20 lead.

“I was hoping we could get some points out of Kerr,” saidHolmes. “I told her if she got a good look at the basket to takeher shot.”

Kerr hit 2 treys in the second half and agreed with Holmes.”Coach told me to take a shot if it was open. If the post peoplewere open, I was to get the ball to them.”

The game was deadlocked 28-all entering the fourth quarter asMcComb’s Brittani Pickens hit an 18-footer. The Lady Tigers led30-28 on Concheta Cockerham’s field goal before Brookhaven went ona 14-0 run. Autman hit a short jumper and then cashed in a hookshot for a 32-30 Brookhaven lead with 6:31 left to play.

“It felt good to beat the No. 1 seed,” said Autman, a 6-footcenter.

McCray, another 6-footer, chipped in 9 rebounds, 7 points and 2blocked shots and agreed with Autman. “We knew we could beat McCombbut we had to go out and play hard in the second half.”

Rancifer, who made 4 assists, said it took a team effort toovercome the slow start. “We struggled in the first half but weknew if we worked hard and pulled together, we could win.”

Patten, working at point guard, is coming back from knee surgeryand wears a heavy brace on her leg. “I want to thank the Red teamfor helping make us better.”

Holmes said he was proud of his team’s delay game which workedthe final minutes off the clock. “Give credit to our whole team.They did a good job.”

McComb, coached by Carolyn Whitehead, only had 1 player indouble figures. Felder, a point guard, finished with 11 points.Pickens grabbed 12 rebounds.