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Second half surge lifts BHS over Ridgeland

CLINTON – A menu of seven games highlighted the 2nd annual BlueCross/Blue Shield Rumble In The South Basketball Classic Monday inMississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mike Jones Court. Noneof the games were more thrilling than the Brookhaven Panthers’49-44 upset over the highly-touted Ridgeland Titans on MartinLuther King Day.

In other games, Hinds AHS defeated Jackson Prep 90-75. Clintonbeat Hillcrest Christian 68-53. Jackson Academy slipped pastHarrison Central 45-44. MRA blasted Pearl 51-29. Dallas (TX)Lincoln defeated No. 1-ranked Meridian 75-73 and Memphis (TN)Melrose defeated Jackson Murrah 71-57.

Brookhaven jumps back in Division 6-4A play tonight at Florence,beginning at 6 p.m.

Brookhaven 49, Florence 44

What a difference a half came can make. That was the case forBrookhaven and Ridgeland, as college scouts from all Mississippischools plus SEC schools Kentucky, LSU and Wake Forest, and USChuddled amongst the estimated 2,000 fans.

The Titans (15-5) came into the game, as one of the highlyranked teams in the Jackson-Metro area. Ridgeland, coached byRoderick Davidson, has put together an impressive season, led byAll-State senior Jeff Stubbs.

Stubbs, the MVP of the Titans’ 64-42 win over West Lauderdalelast year, sacked 3 treys in the opening half. Ridgeland led 13-10after one period and 28-17 at halftime. Davidson’s ballclub wouldtake advantage of 10 Ole Brook turnovers.

The Panthers (8-10) halted a 3-game losing streak in the GoldenDome. Head Coach Ronald Hines saw his team rebound from a 24percent (6 of 25) shooting clip in the first half, to shoot ablistering 58 percent (12 of 21) in the second.

Brookhaven only committed 3 turnovers in the final 2 quarters.The Panthers, who trailed throughout most of the game, took a 33-32lead on Rajavion Stewart’s third trey of the third with 1:05 leftin the period. It would be their first lead since Chad Hall’s 2free throws to start the game.

“When we can keep our turnovers down, we can compete with anyonewe play,” said Coach Hines. “This was a good win for us.”

Stewart, who was named the game’s MVP, finished with 13 points,2 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Hall had 4 steals.

Ole Brook’s defensive pressure led them to a 20-5 third quarterscoring spree and a 37-33 cushion entering the final frame.

Ridgeland would not give up, as Stubbs’ 2 free throws gave theTitans a brief 42-41 lead with 2:05 left in the game.

A basket in the paint by Marcus Magee, on the ensuing inboundspossession, gave the Panthers the lead for good. The Titans wereunable to convert easy baskets and free throws down the stretch, asthey finished on the back end of a 7-3 Brookhaven run to close outthe game.

Stubbs and Le’Antwan Luckett pumped in 13 points apiece forRidgeland. Donovan Ross added 10 points and 5 rebounds. DevrickWansley dished out 3 assists. Stubbs had 3 steals.

Lending support for Ole Brook were Magee and Donaldmetric Blue,who each tossed in 11 points. Blue led off the backboards with 7rebounds, while Hall had 5, along with 4 steals.

The Panthers finished with 13 turnovers, compared to 23 by theTitans. Brookhaven held a slight 32-31 edge on the boards. For thegame, Brookhaven shot 39 percent (18 of 47) from the floor, whileRidgeland hit a 33 percent clip (16 of 48).