Brook girls enter title game

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 23, 2004

McCOMB – The Brookhaven Lady Panthers were riding a 7-gamewinning streak, coming into Thursday’s Division 6-4A semifinal testagainst Wingfield at McComb’s Gym.

With an always-improving defensive effort and timely free throwshooting, the third time would definitely be the charm forBrookhaven. The No. 3-seed Lady Panthers upset the No. 2-seed LadyFalcons 35-28, behind a game-high 18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 stealsand 3 assists from 6-foot senior center Anna Autman.

In other tournament action, the McComb girls defeated South Pike54-40. In boys action, Jim Hill buried Terry 68-45, while McCombsmashed Wingfield 65-47.

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Brookhaven advances to the girls championship finals againstMcComb today at 7 p.m. Wingfield plays in the girls consolationgame at 4 p.m., against South Pike. In boys action, Wingfield meetsTerry in the consolation matchup at 5:30 p.m. The boys championshipfinal features McComb and Jim Hill at 8:30 p.m.

The championship finalists will host first round games in theSouth State 4A playoffs, while the consolation participants musttravel on the road. This year, Division 6 is matched up againstDivision 7. Their members are South Jones, Forrest County AHS,Petal, Stone County, George County, Pearl River Central andLaurel.

The first round of the South State 4A playoffs gets under wayMonday with girls action, and the boys activity on Tuesday. Allfirst round games tip off at 7 p.m., as mandated by the MississippiHigh School Activities Association.

“Brookhaven’s first-round game Monday in Sinclair Gym will carrya $4 admission fee,” said Brookhaven High athletic director TuckeyPeavey. “Only state passes will be accepted at the door.” The LadyPanthers will host either George County or Laurel from the Division7 consolation game.

Brookhaven 35, Wingfield 28

Brookhaven head coach Billy Holmes’ squad last suffered defeatJan. 23 against the Lady Falcons, and lost to the Lady Falcons onJan. 13.

The first quarter closed at a 6-6 deadlock.

The Lady Panthers (21-11) would carry a 14-8 lead in thehalftime locker room. Autman (4) and Kristian McCray scored 7baskets in the paint for the 6-point cushion. Brookhaven limitedWingfield to a single basket by Shana Wilson in the secondperiod.

“Our defense has gotten better over the last several ballgames,”said Holmes.

Wingfield (15-12), coached by Bobby Gates, would not give upeasily. The Lady Falcons cut their deficit to 2 points, 17-15,entering the final stanza.

The Lady Falcons opened the final 8 minutes with a 7-0 run totake a 5-point lead, 22-17, on a basket by Dominique Sutton. Suttonand Candace Johnson led Wingfield with 8 points each.

Brookhaven would respond with an 18-6 run to close out the game.Autman sacked 6-of-8 free throws in the final 6 minutes. AshleyLeggett’s 2 free throws with under 2 minutes left on the clock gavethe Lady Panthers a 30-22 lead.

“Anna (Autman) came through on her free throws,” added Holmeswho was referring to Autman’s 13-for-16 performance from thecharity stripe against Jim Hill Wednesday.

“I am extremely proud of the girls and the effort that theygave,” Holmes said. Lending support for Brookhaven were McCray with10 points and 8 rebounds. Chiquita Rancifer had 5 steals and 2assists.

Providing support for Jackson-based Wingfield were LoreanShoulders with 15 rebounds. Wilson dished out 3 assists. Johnsonhad 3 steals.

Both teams were deadlocked at 27-27 in the reboundingdepartment. Brookhaven committed 17 turnovers, while forcingWingfield into 22 of their own. Brookhaven shot 13-for-22 (59percent) from the free throw line, including 10-of-16 in the finalperiod.

“It should be a good game tonight,” said Holmes as he wasreferring to Brookhaven and McComb matching up for the fourth timethis season. The Lady Panthers hold a 2-1 edge over the LadyTigers.

Jim Hill 68, Terry 45

The No. 1-seed Tigers (22-6) were led by Dandy Dozen seniorguard Stanford Speech and Lorenzo Bailey with 19 points apiece. TheBulldogs, seeded No. 4, got 12 points apiece from Joe Willis andTerencio Powell.

McComb 54, South Pike 40

Brittani Pickens tossed in a game-high 22 points for the No.1-seed Lady Tigers, while Samantha Felder followed with 17. The No.4-seed Lady Eagles were led by DeAngela Bonds and Yolonda Gradywith 8 points apiece.

McComb 65, Wingfield 47

The Tigers, with the No. 2-seed, got a game-high 22 points fromsenior John Thompson. Chris Brock authored 15 points for head coachHilton Harrell. The No. 3-seed Falcons got 14 points each fromDandy Dozen senior center Christian Marshall and Calvin Cook.