Lady Panthers capture win over NE Lauderdale

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It was not the prettiest of win by the Brookhaven Lady Panthersin the opening round of the South Mississippi State 4A playoffsMonday night. But Ole Brook head coach Freda Craft and her ballclubwill take the final result: a 50-42 win over the NortheastLauderdale Lady Trojans in Sinclair Gymnasium before an estimated400 fans.

Brookhaven advances to the South State 4A girls quarterfinalsThursday night at Stone County. The Lady Panthers will take on theMoss Point Lady Tigers at 8:30 p.m. in the Stone County gymnasium,located in Wiggins.

Moss Point, the Division 8-4A champion, eliminated Bay St. Louis(7-4A No. 4-seed) 54-51 Monday night.

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The NEL Trojans (22-11) got the game started with someexceptional outside shooting and a balanced scoring attack. NELauderdale shot nearly 56 percent (5 of 9) from the floor, as headcoach Frederick Liddell saw his ballclub take a 13-6 lead into thesecond quarter.

The Lady Panthers (28-5) had some trouble adjusting to NELauderdale’s offensive attack. That problem was rectified early inthe second quarter as Brookhaven opened the period with a 7-0scoring spurt to deadlock the game at 13-all. Dandy Dozen seniorguard/forward Swayze Black provided the tying bucket on anoffensive putback.

Craft’s crew would turn a 14-point turnaround into a 24-17halftime lead, despite shooting 29 percent (8 of 28) from the fieldin the first half.

“We got a bit erratic in the second quarter,” Coach Liddellsaid. “Turnovers hurt us at the most unusual times.”

NE Lauderdale continued to attack the basket all night long.They were not intimidated by Brookhaven’s height advantage.

“We wanted to be aggressive on the offensive end,” said Liddell.”I am extremely proud of my girls and their effort tonight. Takenothing away from Brookhaven, they have a good team.”

Liddell’s ballclub tried to make a game of it in the secondhalf. They outscored the Lady Panthers 26-25, but would not comecloser than 3 points; 32-29 entering the fourth quarter.

Brookhaven had a combined 7 of 8 effort from the charity stripeby Black, Nikki Byrd and Amber Dickey in the fourth quarter. TheLady Trojans were subject to foul trouble with center Ceara McCoyand Norianna Haynes fouling out late in the game.

Byrd led all scorers with 17 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and5 steals. Black tossed in 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4steals. Ole Brook outrebounded NE Lauderdale 37-36, committing only11 turnovers.

Both teams shot under 39 percent from the floor. Brookhavenwould win the game on second-chance points (17-11), free throws(17-6) and points in the paints (26-16).

“We’re glad to get the win,” said Coach Craft following thegame. “We have to be more focused on what we need to do.