Panthers escape LCHS

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MONTICELLO – The Brookhaven Panthers converted 9 of 14 freethrows in the second half, including 7 of 8 in the final stanza.They would escape Lawrence County with a hard-fought 64-60 win overthe home standing Cougars, in a Division 6-4A game that was closerthan the score indicated.

With the win by Ole Brook, the Panthers improve to 8-13 overalland 1-3 in the division race. Lawrence County fell to 5-15 and0-5.

Brookhaven hosts Mendenhall in a 6-4A test Tuesday night inSinclair Gym.

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There were 10 deadlock and 11 lead-changes in the 32-minuteaffair. Neither team had a lead larger than 5 points. It would bepoor shooting by the Cougars that would hurt them down thestretch.

“We just could not put the ball in the basket,” said Cougar headcoach Preston Wilson.

LCHS took an 18-16 lead into the second quarter and a 31-30cushion into the halftime locker room. Neither team shot over 42percent from the Cougar floor in the first half, and combined for31 free throws in the first 16 minutes.

The Panthers used a 14-5 third period to take a 44-40 lead intothe final stanza.

The Cougars would take a brief 60-54 lead on a basket byLadarius Jenkins with a minute left in the game.

Ole Brook responded at the charity stripe down the stretch. Aset of 7 of 8 free throws, including 6 consecutive by DesmondArnold, Simmie Yarborough and Chad Hall, closed out the scoring inthe hotly-contested game which saw a few fans from both sidesescorted from the gymnasium by Lawrence County law officers.

“Our kids played well down the stretch and did not give up,”said Panther head coach Ronald Hines. “We played hard and LawrenceCounty did too. We were able to make our free throws at theend.”

Rancifer led all scorers with 25 points, 5 assists and 4 steals.Marcus McGee had 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Keenan Richardson had 3steals. Brookhaven held a slim 24-23 edge on the boards andcommitted 23 turnovers; 10 coming in the second half.

Jenkins paced LCHS with 18 points. Cazlyn Peyton dished out 3assists and had 4 steals. Devon Mills and Brandon Middlebrook eachhad 2 steals. The Cougars had 17 miscues and shot 42 percent (18 of43) from the field.