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Lady Rebels clip BHS

Forest Hill got a solid 1-2 punch from guard Bianca Powell andcenter Courtney Marbra Tuesday night, turning back the BrookhavenLady Panthers 37-34 in Sinclair Gymnasium. Marbra, a 6-1 junior,collected 14 points and 8 rebounds; and Powell pumped in 13 pointsas the Lady Rebels (26-3, 10-1) claimed first place in the Division6-4A basketball race.

Ole Brook (24-4, 9-2), losing for the second time to Forest Hillthis season, will be seeded No. 2 in next week’s Division 6-4ATournament at Mendenhall.

The Lady Rebels capitalized on the absence of BrookhavenAll-State center Nikki Byrd who sat out over 10 minutes of thesecond half with 4 personal fouls. Byrd picked up two quick foulsin the third quarter and exited the game with 3:38 showing and herteam leading 28-27.

Byrd didn’t return until 1:07 remained in the game and theRebels leading 35-32. The Ole Miss signee finished with 11 points,4 rebounds and 2 assists.

“It hurt a lot when Nikki got in foul trouble,” said BHS coachFreda Craft. “We made costly turnovers down the stretch and didn’tget any free throws.”

At the charity line, BHS attempted only 2 free throws and made1.

Swayze Black, Brook’s 6-2 senior forward, led the Panthers with15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. The LSU signee had both of herteam’s field goals in the final 8 minutes of action.

The Rebels, displaying adroit skills at the guard position, wentahead 31-30 just 13 seconds into the final frame on a short jumperby Marbra. Coach Tommy Groves put his team in a delay game and BHSwas unable to stop them.

“Forest Hill has two good guards and they can control the flowof the game,” said Craft. “They are well-disciplined, too.”

Groves had seen his team hold BHS to its lowest point total ofthe season in a 46-25 win at Forest Hill Jan. 8. He was pleased toescape with a win last night.

“Powell handled the ball well and made some good shots,” saidGroves, referring to his guard’s 4 treys. “We were playing a big,athletic team. Byrd being in foul trouble hurt them.”

The Panthers made 50 percent of their field goals, going 16 for32. Only 4 players managed to score. They outrebounded the Rebels21-17.