Shannon gives Lady Panthers second-half lift

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 30, 2006

McCOMB — Whitley Shannon provided the Brookhaven Lady Pantherswith some second-half heroics Friday night. When starting postSwayze Black got into foul trouble, Shannon came off the bench andscored 9 second-half points, helping the Lady Panthers turn backthe McComb girls 43-30 in a Division 6-4A showdown.

Ole Brook improved its record to 11-14 overall and 6-2 in thedivision race. McComb fell to 11-11 and 5-3.

“I wanted to beat McComb,” said Shannon, a 5-11 sophomore. “Wewere ready for this game.”

Shannon also had 6 rebounds in the victory. Her performancecaught the eye of first-year McComb coach Angela Johnson, too.

“Number 12 (Shannon’s jersey) played a great game coming off thebench,” said Johnson, a McComb graduate who played guard forSouthern Miss.

“Brookhaven has everything you want in a team,” said Johnson.”They wanted to win more than we did tonight.”

The Lady Panthers dominated the inside game. Sophomore postsBlack and Nikki Byrd accounted for 11 and 10 points respectively.Byrd also grabbed 11 rebounds.

“We had a very good team effort,” said Ole Brook girls coachBilly Holmes, as perspiration glistened on his forehead. “Blanch(Wilson) gave us some outside shots (2 treys). Portia did a goodjob on defense. Whitney came off the bench and played well. Nikkidid a good job rebounding.”

Ole Brook will host the Division 6-4A tournament Feb. 13-17.Holmes, a 1959 McComb graduate, said his girls were starting topeak at the right time.

“Our focus was good,” said Holmes. “We are starting to get readyfor the playoffs. We need to shoot our free throws better.”

Erase the 2-point second quarter, and Ole Brook did play well.McComb, down 16-9 at the quarter, outscored the Panthers 6-2 in thesecond frame, climbing within 18-15 at halftime.

Dickey put Ole Brook in control with a layup and a short jumperto start the second half. Wilson sacked a trey and Byrd scored on aputback, giving her team a 10-point cushion, 27-17.

McComb got a team-high 8 points from freshman Portia Craft.