• 59°

Panthers, Lady Bears notch victories

The West Lincoln Lady Bears jumped out to a large lead early,and then held on for a narrow 55-52 win over the Brookhaven LadyPanthers Saturday night in Sinclair Gymnasium. Guard Erica Shawpaced the Lady Bears with a game-high 20 points, plus 6 reboundsand 2 assists.

In the varsity boys game, the Brookhaven Panthers led fromstart-to-finish, en route to a 51-30 win over the West LincolnBears. Freshman Charles Rancifer directed the win with 13 points, 7rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists.

Brookhaven opens play in the first round of the 2004 BrookhavenInvitational Tournament Monday night, against Crystal Springs. Thegirls game tips off around 7 p.m., followed by the boys contest at8:30. Tylertown and Hinds AHS get under away at 4 p.m. with thegirls game, with the boys playing at 5:30.

Other first-round matchups on Wednesday feature LawrenceCounty/McComb girls at 4, followed by Bogue Chitto/Salem boys at5:30. The Bogue Chitto/Salem girls begin at 7, followed by LawrenceCounty/McComb boys at 8:30.

West Lincoln hosts Franklin County Tuesday for 3 games,beginning at 5 p.m. with a JV boys game.

West Lincoln 55, Brookhaven 52

“We missed some opportunities down the stretch,” said LadyPanther head coach Billy Holmes. “West Lincoln shot the ball wellin the first half.”

The Lady Bears (1-1), behind the shooting of Shaw, jumped out toa 21-10 lead at the end of the opening 8 minutes of action. Shawsacked a pair of treys, as West Lincoln shot nearly 60 percent fromthe field. The Lady Beards were 11-of-22 from the field, including5-of-8 from 3-point range.

Brookhaven (0-4) outscored West Lincoln 15-8 in the second, buttrailed 29-25 at the intermission. Portia Dickey and Corena Batescombined for 8 points and 4 assists in the period.

The Lady Panthers kept chipping away at their deficit in thethird. Ole Brook got treys from Dickey and Ashley Leggett, toentertain a 42-40 advantage; entering the final period.

It was a see-saw battle to the finish, as neither team had alead of more than 3 points.

West Lincoln, coached by Lane Young, took the lead for good with21 seconds left on the clock; on a pair of free throws by LaurenSmith. Smith also dished out 5 assists.

Brookhaven committed several turnovers in the waning moments.West Lincoln’s Alicia Kennedy made 1 free throw in the final 8seconds for the final margin of victory.

“We couldn’t miss in the first quarter,” said Young. “We madeour free throws at the end.”

Lending support for Ole Brook was freshman center Swayze Blackwith a team-high 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, 2 stealsand 2 assists. Kayla Harris had 4 assists. Blanche Wilson had 4assists.

Brookhaven 51, West Lincoln 30

Brookhaven’s boys (2-2) used a balanced attack on offense,combined with pressure defense to pick up their second consecutivewin. The Panthers led 12-4 at the end of the first quarter.

The Panthers held a 29-12 lead at halftime, as freshmen ToryRichardson and Rancifer combined for 10 points in the half.

West Lincoln made a brief run in the third, outscoring thePanthers 11-8. The Bears could not get any closer than 10 points,and trailed 37-23 entering the fourth frame.

Bears Shane Lynch and Stephen Jones each scored 7 points. TylerSmith, who scored 35 points at North Pike Tuesday night, was heldto 2 points. Jeremy Byrd was tops off the boards with 5rebounds.

“Brookhaven’s defense was geared up to stop Tyler,” said Young.”Our effort has to improve.”

Rancifer tossed in a game-high 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 stealsand 2 assists. Michael Byrd had 10 points and 2 assists. WadeStewart had 9 rebounds.

“We are a young team,” said Panther head coach Ronald Hines. “Wehave to play through our mistakes.

“West Lincoln played hard,” added Hines. “They have two goodshooters in Lynch (Shane) and Tyler (Smith).”