Lady Panthers claim second straight division title

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007


That was the inscription on the back of the Lady Panthers’T-Shirts, presented to them following their hard-fought 52-48 winover a very stubborn McComb Lady Tigers team Friday night in theDivision 6-4A Tournament girls championship game.

Brookhaven also captured last season’s crown in SinclairGym.

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In other tournament action, the fourth-seeded Mendenhall boysused a potent offensive effort and a smothering defense to upendNo. 1-seed Port Gibson 46-33. The consolation finals saw the McCombTigers defeat the Lawrence County Cougars 70-57, while theMendenhall Lady Tigers fell to the Port Gibson Lady Wave 52-47.

Brookhaven hosts the Gautier Lady Gators Monday in SinclairGymnasium at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the South State 4Aplayoffs; McComb will host the D’Iberville Lady Warriors. TheLawrence County boys travel to D’Iberville Tuesday.

Brookhaven 52, McComb 48

The Lady Tigers (22-9) gave Brookhaven all it could handle andthen some. McComb head coach Angela Johnson had a game plan and itnearly worked. Junior guard Portia Craft did her part with a12-point first half.

“We wanted to clog the paint and try to shut down their insidegame,” Coach Johnson said. “I am proud of my girls for the way theyplayed and never gave up. Brookhaven has a good team.”

The game was close throughout the entire 32 minutes. Neitherteam held a lead larger than 7 points by Brookhaven or 3 points byMcComb.

The Lady Panthers (27-5) led 10-7 heading into the secondquarter, and 22-20 at the intermission.

Brookhaven’s Dandy Dozen twin-tower duo of Swayze Black andNikki Byrd were constantly hounded by the packed quarters insidethe paint. Both combined for 13 points in the opening half. Byrdled Brookhaven with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals. Blackfollowed with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 assists.

“We knew that they were going to pack it inside,” saidfirst-year Lady Panther head coach Freda Craft. “We just had tostay patient and stay with our bread-and-butter.”

Johnson’s crew took a brief 3-point lead midway through thefinal period at 45-42. The Lady Panthers would close the game witha 10-3 run. Following a missed 1-and-1 situation with less than 15seconds left in the game, Byrd sank 2 free throws to make it a2-possession game.

Lending support for Ole Brook was Monte’ Wilson with 4 steals.Their difference in the game was outscoring McComb’s bench 7-2, anda 36-26 advantage in rebounding. The Lady Panthers shot 51 percent(22 of 43) from the field and 50 percent (5 of 10) from the charitystripe.

The Lady Tigers got a game-high 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 stealsand 2 assists from Craft. Senior forward Carishian Pattersonregistered 13 points and 8 rebounds. Alisha Rayborn had 4 steals.McComb committed 17 turnovers, compared to 24 by Brookhaven.

McComb 70, Lawrence County 57

The Cougars (17-11) got a tournament-high 32 points from seniorguard Oliver Peyton and 17 from senior Dominique West. The duocombined for 10 3-pointers in the game. Their shooting performancekept LCHS in the game throughout.

The Tigers (27-5) trailed 15-13 after one period, but forged an18-12 second frame to take 31-27 lead into the halftime lockerroom. McComb used a balanced-scoring attack in the opening half,outscoring the Cougar’s bench 17-0 in the first half.

Tiger senior Otis Smith, who came off the Tiger bench, helpedspear the effort with 21 points. Reserve Anthony Daniels netted 16points, while Ricardo Brown had 7. For the game, McComb’s benchheld a 44-3 advantage.

McComb led 50-39 entering the final stanza.

Mendenhall 46, Port Gibson 33

The Tigers (25-6) fostered a perfect game plan by using atorrid-shooting spree; combined with a stout defensive effort.Mendenhall, coached by Jeff Walker, led 29-18 at the half.

The Blue Wave (18-14) would not get any closer than 9 pointsfollowing the opening period. Head Coach Kim Windom got 9 pointsfrom Joshua Coleman.

Port Gibson 52, Mendenhall 47

The Lady Wave (21-12) was led by Nakia Dotson with 15 points.Shannon Johnson tossed in 12 points, while Regena Grigsby added 10for head coach Harold Liggins.

The Lady Tigers (17-10), coached by Marilyn Coleman, got 15points from Kemekia Bullock.