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BHS girls roar; Lawrence Co. eliminated

MENDENHALL – The Brookhaven Lady Panthers began defense of theirDivision 6-4A girls tournament crown with a resounding 57-30 winover the Lawrence County Lady Cougars Tuesday afternoon in theMendenhall gym. A balanced scoring effort and transition basketsoff LCHS turnovers were instrumental in the Ole Brook victory.

In other first round action, the No. 2-seed McComb Tigersblasted the homestanding (No. 7 seed) Mendenhall Tigers 70-47. TheNo. 3 seeded Lady Tigers of McComb smashed the Florence Lady Eagles63-31. The No. 3 seed-Port Gibson boys eliminated No. 5 seedLawrence County 72-44.

The semifinal round tips off Thursday at 4 p.m., with the No. 1seed Forest Hill girls playing No. 5 Port Gibson. The BrookhavenPanthers (seeded No. 4) take on No. 1 seed Forest Hill at 5:30.

The Lady Panthers (No. 2 seed) of Brookhaven meet No. 3 seedMcComb at 7, followed by the McComb boys and around 8:30.

Brookhaven 57, Lawrence County 30

The Lady Panthers (26-4) got 9 points from senior guard/forwardSwayze Black in the opening period. Ole Brook, coached by FredaCraft, scored 16 of its 21 first-quarter points in the paint. Theyled 21-4 entering the second stanza.

The Lady Cougars (8-21) shot under 19 percent (3 of 16) in thefirst half. A pair of free throws by senior guard Brittney Collinsand a basket by Latoya Showers saw LCHS trail 43-8 at theintermission break. Collins led head coach Vicki Rutland’s ballclubwith 13 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Craft emptied her bench in the second half, as all 10 dressedplayers saw nearly a half-game’s work on the night.

Black led all scorers with 17 points, 2 assists and 3 steals.Mal’esia Burnett led off the backboard with 6 rebounds. Nikki Byrdhad 3 steals. Byrd and Ashley Gayten each dished out 2 assists.

McComb 70, Mendenhall 47

The Pike County-based Tigers (24-4) shot nearly 60 percent (17of 26) in the 23-point thrashing of Mendenhall. Forward DerrickHarris led all scorers with 15 points. Reserve guard Tim Martinadded 14 points for head coach Hilton Harrell.

The Simpson County-based Tigers got a team-high 10 points fromDarren Rankin. Mendenhall, coached by James Turner, concludes itsseason at 5-18.

McComb 63, Florence 31

The Lady Tigers (19-10) got a game-high 22 points and 10rebounds from junior guard Portia Craft. Alisha Rayborn tossed in 8points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for head coach AngelaJohnson.

The Lady Eagles (9-19) could not find any answers for the McCombpressure defense. Head Coach Steve Wingate saw senior guard HopeMoore pump in 11 points.

Port Gibson 72, Lawrence County 44

Cougar head coach Preston Wilson saw his team jump out to a17-11 first quarter lead, behind an 11-point effort by forwardBrandon Middlebrook.

A 31-13 scoring spurt by the Blue Wave (16-11) over the next 2periods would be the deciding factor in the game. Cortez Mageepaced Port Gibson with 13 points, followed by Antwon Moore andKadeem Fleming with 11 points apiece.

Middlebrook led all scorers with 15 points. Center LadariusJenkins pumped in 12 points for LCHS, which concludes its season at8-19.