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McComb stops Panthers

McComb head coach Hilton Harrell never has any idea who hisleading scorer is going to be, since all five of his startersaverage in double figures. DeMarion Addison stepped forward Fridaynight in Sinclair Gymnasium and sacked 24 points in the Tigers’71-55 victory over the Brookhaven Panthers.

Addison, a 6-foot senior southpaw, helped the Tigers win their22nd game in 24 outings. They are 7-1 in the Division 6-4Arace.

“On any given night, every kid who starts for me can lead us inscoring,” said Harrell. “We have five kids who can step up.”

Harrell’s Tigers are ranked No. 6 in the statewide AssociatedPress Prep Poll and No. 1 in the ESPN Radio Southwest MississippiPoll. They are fresh from beating Gulfport 57-53 in the Gulf CoastHoopfest. The Tigers lost to Hinds AHS early in the season and toTerry in a division test.

“It was good to see our kids play through foul trouble,” Harrellcontinued. “We knew Brookhaven would play aggressive and there werea lot of fouls called.”

The Panthers (8-15, 2-5) made a spirited fourth-quarter rallybut were unable to catch the Tigers. A short jumper by center BudChatman reduced McComb’s lead to 5 points, 49-44, with 4:20 left toplay.

McComb outscored the hosts 23-11 the remainder of the game.Addison dropped in 8 points during the run and Eric Mitchell made 5free throws, finishing with 11 points. Addison also grabbed 10rebounds in the game.

“McComb has real good team speed and they can defend well,” saidOle Brook head coach Ronald Hines. “They probably are the mostbalanced team in our division.”

Chatman, a 6-5 senior, led the Panthers with 19 points.Playmaker Jerome Avery added 15 points and Michael Thrasher 10.

On the backboards, Chatman and Wade Stewart each had 7rebounds.

“Bud is a raw athlete and plays with a lot of heart,” saidHines. “He and Michael Thrasher still have a lot of football inthem.”

Chatman, a wide receiver, and Thrasher, a senior tight end,helped lead Ole Brook to the Class 4A state football championshipon Dec. 4. They were late arrivals to basketball practice.

“The first quarter was the difference,” said Hines, recallinghis team’s 17-6 deficit. “We have green (young) kids.”

After visiting Lawrence County Tuesday, the Panthers return hometo host Jim Hill’s Tigers Friday for their final home game. Theymake up a game Saturday night at South Pike.