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BHS splits with H’burg

HATTIESBURG – It was a tale of two halves for the Lady Panthersand Panthers of Brookhaven Friday night, as they met hostHattiesburg in Day 2 of the Hattiesburg/Coca-Cola HolidayTournament.

The Lady Panthers overcame a sluggish first-half performance;outscoring the Lady Tigers 36-17 in the second half to come awaywith a 70-50 victory. The Panthers were plagued by turnovers in thesecond half of their 71-64 loss to the Tigers.

Brookhaven 70, Hattiesburg 50

The previously-unbeaten Lady Tigers (12-1) are one of thetop-ranked 5A teams in South Mississippi. They have defeated thelikes of Gulfport, Wayne County and Meridian. Hattiesburg, coachedby Caronica Debose, was not intimidated by the Ole Brook heightadvantage. Their take-it-to-the-basket approach netted a 17-alldeadlock at the end of the first period.

The Lady Panthers (15-1), ranked seventh in the state, wereunable to figure out how to attack the much-smaller Lady Tigers.Brookhaven would realize a single-digit advantage at theintermission break, 34-33.

Debose’s ballclub took a brief lead at 35-34, to start thesecond half, on a basket by senior guard Colby Stallings.

That appeared to be the wake-up call that Ole Brook needed. HeadCoach Freda Craft saw her team go on a 14-2 scoring spurt to takethe lead for good at 48-37 halfway through the third. Anold-fashion, 3-point play by junior forward Ashley Gayten gave theLady Panthers a 56-42 lead entering the final frame.

Lending support for Ole Brook was Dandy Dozen senior centerNikki Byrd with a team-high 24 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists.Fellow Dandy Dozen senior forward Swayze Black tossed in 15 points,grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. Gayten also pumped in15 points and dished out 5 assists.

Stallings, being looked at by several Division 1 schools, ledall scorers with 27 points.

Hattiesburg 71, Brookhaven 64

The Panthers (7-10) played one of their better first-halves ofthe season. Even though the shooting percentage (39 percent) wassubpar, Ole Brook’s defensive prowess and accurate passing forgedan 11-10 first-quarter lead.

The Tigers (11-4) could not get anything going on the offensiveend. Poor shooting and missed opportunities saw Hattiesburg on thewrong end of an 11-0 run by Brookhaven in the second frame, as theTigers trailed 33-22 entering the halftime locker room.

Hattiesburg, coached by Yama Jones, opened the second half witha 17-6 scoring burst that would entertain a 39-all deadlock midwaythrough the third on a layup by Josh McKinley.

Entering the final stanza, the score was tied at 43-all.

With under 5:40 left in the game, the Tigers got consecutive,old-fashion 3-point plays from Trey Martin and John Nick Woods torealize a 55-49 lead.

The Panthers got to within 4 points at 65-61 on a 3-point playby Charles Rancifer with 52 seconds left on the clock.

Rancifer led all scorers with 28 points. Martin pacedHattiesburg with 20 points.