Lady Panthers win big; Panthers fall in 3 OTs

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 21, 2008

An estimated 1,200 enthusiastic fans witnessed another chapterof the Brookhaven-McComb basketball series Friday night in James A.Sinclair Gymnasium. It was definitely worth the price of admissionas the Brookhaven girls and McComb boys notched Division 6-4Awins.

Behind the Dandy Dozen duo of seniors Swayze Black and NikkiByrd, the Lady Panthers breezed past the Lady Tigers 59-37. In thevarsity boys matchup, the Tigers took 3 thrilling overtime sessionsto escape with a narrow 74-71 victory over the Panthers.

The Brookhaven Classic was postponed Saturday, due to inclementweather. No make-up date has been announced at press time. Brookhaven will host Florence in a 6-4A doubleheader Tuesday. TheMcComb boys participate in the Martin Luther King Day ClassicMonday at Jackson Lanier.

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Brookhaven 59, McComb 37

The Black-Byrd duo controlled the scoring and rebounding in thegame, with each claiming a double-double. Byrd, a 6-2 Ole Misssignee, tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds; along with 5 assists and4 blocked shots.

Black, a 6-foot-3 LSU signee, led all scorers with 25 points and18 rebounds. She also had 4 assists and 3 blocked shots.

The Lady Tigers (15-8, 5-3) did not get on the scoreboard untilthe 3:29 mark of the opening period, thus missing their 8 shots ofthe game. Prior to the basket by Portia Craft, McComb trailed 9-0and were down 20-5 entering the second frame.

Ole Brook (19-3, 5-1) continued its dominance in the paint inthe first half, outscoring McComb 15-2 to take a 39-16 advantageinto the halftime lockerroom.

Craft paced the Lady Tigers with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Andrekus Dexter pumped in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals offthe McComb bench. McComb, coached by Angela Johnson shot 16 percent(9 of 58) from the floor and committed only 10 turnovers.

Lending support for BHS head coach Freda Craft’s crew wasWhitley Shannon with 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Amber Dickeydished out 2 assists. The Lady Panthers shot 47 percent (27 of 57)from the field, but committed 22 turnovers.

McComb 74, Brookhaven 71, 3 OT

The game was a lot closer than the score indicated. Throughoutthe 44-minute gala, there was a 14-point swing between leads. Brookhaven’s largest lead was 8 points, while McComb’s biggestcushion was 6. There were 9 deadlocks and 7 lead changes.

The Panthers (9-14, 2-4) held leads of 15-11 after one periodand 31-29 at the intermission break. Brookhaven, coached by RonaldHines, had their biggest lead of the night at 19-11 on a 3-pointbasket by Charles Rancifer.

The Tigers (19-3, 7-1) opened the second half by using apressing, trapping pressure defense The defensive stoppages causedfits for Ole Brook in the second half. McComb trailed by a singlepoint, 45-44 entering the fourth frame.

McComb head coach Hilton Harrell saw senior forward DerrickHarris keep his teammates in the game. He sacked 6 treys in thegame (3 in each half), as he finished with a team-high 20points.

As the extra sessions drew close, neither team could takeadvantage of the other’s misfortunes. Several opportunities in thefirst 2 overtime periods were blown. The score was deadlocked at53-all at the end of regulation, 59-all after the first 4-minuteperiod and 69-all entering the third OT.

In the third overtime, Ole Brook won the center-court tap andhead Coach Hines send his Panthers into a 4-corners type offensiveset. For nearly 3 minutes, Hines’ team would not even attempt anymotion towards the basket.

The Tigers would get a steal from guard Julius Brown.

Panther guard Keenan Richardson got a steal and a layup withover a minute left in the game. That would be the last timeBrookhaven would score.

Free throws and a basket by Mitchell Thompson would ice the gamefor McComb.

“McComb played real hard tonight,” said Hines following thegame. “Free throws and turnovers were the difference in the game.We have to learn how to finish games.”

For the Panthers, senior forward Charles (Bobo) Rancifer led allscorers with a game-high 29 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. Donaldmetric Blue tossed in 13 points, had 8 rebounds and 2steals.  Chad Hall pumped in 10 points, before fouling out late inregulation.

Following Harris with 15 points, 4 assists and 4 steals wasBrown for McComb. Thompson added 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assistsand 5 steals. Kiam Magee had 7 rebounds.