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Ole Brook jumps on Florence Eagles

Brookhaven sophomores Charles (Bobo) Rancifer and Nikki Byrdhave been lighting up the scoreboard in recent games. The paircontinued their torrid shooting Tuesday night in SinclairGymnasium, leading their respective teams to Division 6-4A winsover Florence.

Rancifer tossed in a game-high 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assistsand 2 steals; leading the Panthers to a hard-fought 66-62 win overthe Eagles. Byrd registered 21 points and 7 rebounds, as the LadyPanthers blew past the Lady Eagles 77-30.

The Brookhaven girls improved to 9-12 overall and 3-1 in thedivision, while the Lady Eagles dropped to 2-16 and 0-5. TheBrookhaven boys climbed to 6-15 and 2-2, while the Eagles fell to8-11 and 0-5.

Brookhaven travels to Port Gibson Friday night for Division 6-4Aaction, beginning at 5 p.m., with a JV boys game. On Saturdaynight, Brookhaven travels to Florence in Rankin County for a pairof Division 6-4A varsity games, starting at 6.

Brookhaven 77, Florence 30

The Lady Panthers came out the starting gates in a blaze. OleBrook opened the first period, shooting 55 percent (10 of 18) fromthe field. Sophomores twin towers Nikki Byrd (11) and Swayze Black(6) were a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, combining for 17 pointsas their teammates carried a 21-5 lead into the second quarter.

Black finished the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blockedshots, 3 steals and 4 assists. Byrd is averaging nearly 20 points agame over the past 4 games.

Throughout the remainder of the game, Brookhaven head coachBilly Holmes was able to substitute at will. All 12 players thatdressed saw action, with 9 of the 12 getting into the scoringcolumn. Holmes’ squad led 35-19 at the intermission break and 62-23entering the final stanza.

“We played well tonight as a team,” said Holmes. “Everyone gotto play and gain some experience. We still need to cut down on ourturnovers.”

“Our bench did an extremely good job tonight,” added Holmes.”Katie (Mackabee) and Whitley (Shannon) played exceptionallywell.”

Mackabee, a junior, came off of Holmes’ bench to score 11points, grab 6 rebounds and made 2 steals. Shannon, a sophomore,had 9 points and 7 rebounds.

Lending support for Ole Brook was Portia Dickey with 4 assists.Blanche Wilson had 3 steals. Angel Weston, Jermecia each added 2thefts.

The Lady Eagles, coached by Bill Broadhead, got 8 points apiecefrom Tinesha Mangum and Latoya Walker. Florence shot 21 percent (11of 53) from floor overall, while committing 25 turnovers. Theirtallest player was 5-foot-8.

“Brookhaven has a good basketball team,” said Broadhead. “Wecould not compete with their height. We are mainly freshmen andsophomores, with no seniors.”

Brookhaven 66, Florence 62

The Eagles, coached by Gabriel Griffin, used an inside/outsidegame to forge a 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Abalanced scoring attack, with 8 different Florence players in thescoring column, led the charge.

Ole Brook responded with a 17-10 second frame to take a 32-26lead at halftime. Rancifer, who is averaging over 24 points a gamein his last 4 contests, tallied 8 points in the period.

The start of the second half nearly became disastrous for thePanthers. Turnovers in the third (10) allowed Florence to regainthe lead at 45-41 entering the final stanza. Chris Bridges tossedin 11 of his team-high 16 points.

Rancifer went to work in the final 8 minutes, scoring on avariety of shots for 13 points in the frame. Jerome Avery came offthe Ole Brook bench, to score 6 of his 10 points. Free throws byRancifer and Avery in the final minute, along with Eagle turnovers,proved to be the difference in the game.

“We must get more consistency to get a complete game,” saidBrookhaven head coach Ronald Hines following the game. “We areplaying hard but we need to take better care of thebasketball.”

Aiding the Panther attack was Simmie Yarborough with 13 pointsand 6 rebounds. Antwon Bryant had 2 steals and 3 assists. TerrancePerkins had 3 steals, while Avery dished out 2 assists.

Ole Brook shot 54 percent from the field overall on 22-of-41shooting. The Panthers and Eagles each committed 25 turnovers.Hines’ squad held a slim 29-25 advantage on the boards.

Antonio Cousin pumped in 16 points for the visiting Eagles.Cousin and Bridges each had 5 steals. David Stuart dished out ateam-high 5 assists.