Lady Panthers prevail; BHS boys bow

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

McCOMB — Center Swayze Black and point guard Blanche Wilsonprovided the 1-2 punch Friday night and the Brookhaven LadyPanthers whipped McComb’s girls 60-46, spoiling a Senior Nightcelebration for the Lady Tigers. Black accounted for 20 points onthe inside and Wilson sacked 4 first-half treys for 12 points inthe Division 6-4A victory.

In the varsity boys game, McComb rode the accurate outsideshooting of Eric Mitchell to a 61-45 win over the Panthers.Mitchell finished with a game-high 24 points.

Brookhaven and McComb participate in the Division 6-4ATournament at Lawrence County in Monticello this week.

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The Lady Panthers (11-15, 8-4) beat McComb for thesecond time this season. Coach Billy Holmes said he was happy toget a win over his alma mater but he saw room forimprovement.,

“I was a little bit disappointed in our defense,” saidHolmes. “We must get a lot tougher on defense to have any chance inthe state playoffs.”

Holmes said the outside shooting of Wilson and AshleyLeggett opened up the inside game for Black who also collected 11rebounds. Fellow 6-foot-1 freshman Nikki Byrd had 8 rebounds and 9points.

Wilson’s fourth trey of the first half gave Brookhaven alopsided 20-5 lead with 6:21 showing.

“We played pretty good,” said Wilson. “It feels good tobeat McComb.”

Asked about her team’s chances in the divisiontournament, Wilson said, “I think we can go all the way in thedivision tournament.”

Coach Holmes said Wilson is steadily improving as apoint guard. “Blanche is very coachable. She’s the glue that keepsour team together.”

McComb (12-16, 5-7) got 15 points from 5-10 seniorforward Stacy Morris. She sacked 3 treys.

McComb coach Carolyn Whitehead complimented the LadyPanthers. “Brookhaven played great.”

The Tigers (23-5, 8-4) rebounded from a series ofdivision setbacks which had knocked them off the top rung. They hadlost 3 straight division games, including Tuesday’s setback atLawrence County.

“We have had some tough games on the road and we werekind of weary,” said McComb coach Hilton Harrell. “We played inspurts on defense and offense.”

Harrell liked his team’s energy level in the firstquarter when the Tigers roared to a 17-4 advantage. “Our kids hadthat kind of energy early in the season.”

The Panthers (9-18, 3-9) regrouped from a disastrousstart and pulled within a field goal, 24-22, at halftime. Seniorcenter Bud Chatman sparked the rally, hitting a pair of shortjumpers and a trey from the corner in the last 2 minutes of thefirst half. It was Chatman’s first game back since spraining hisleft ankle last Friday against Jackson Jim Hill.

“At halftime, I told our players that we would have toplay defense every time down the court,” said Harrell. “We had notbeen doing that the last four games.”

Panther fans came alive when guard Kenneth Harris sackeda trey from the top of the key to give Ole Brook a 25-24 lead atthe 6:42 mark of the third quarter. That field goal appeared toignite the Tigers as they went on a 13-5 run, sparked by the treysof James Morris and Mitchell.

The Tigers led 42-37 to start the fourth quarter andquickly scored 8 unanswered points as Robert Cotton sank a jumperand Mitchell bagged a pair of treys for a 50-37advantage.

Brookhaven, coached by Ronald Hines, got 10 points fromChatman, the only player in double figures.

McComb got 8 rebounds from Demarion Addison. Morrisnetted 10 points.