BHS boys pluck Florence Eagles

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

JACKSON – The first upset of the Division 6-4A BasketballTournament took place Tuesday night as the opening round came toits conclusion. The No. 5-seed Brookhaven Panthers, one of thehottest teams over the past several weeks, put on another shootingdisplay to the tune of a 72-60 upset win over No. 4-seededFlorence. Eagles.

Brookhaven improves to 12-13 with the win and is guaranteed atleast 3 more games. Florence finishes its season at 14-13.

In other opening round boys action, No. 2-seed Port Gibsonblasted No. 7 Mendenhall 91-49 and No. 3-seed McComb handled No. 6Lawrence County 78-65.

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Semifinal games get under way Thursday at 4 p.m.; featuring apair of girls games, with McComb taking on Mendenhall and No. 1seed Forest Hill facing Lawrence Co. at 5:30. The boys games willsee McComb and Port Gibson at 7, followed by Brookhaven and No.1-seed Forest Hill.

All semifinalists will advance to the opening round of the SouthState 4A tournament, beginning Monday (girls) and Tuesday(boys).

Brookhaven 72, Florence 60

The Panthers (12-13) continue to shoot the basketball at atorching rate. Over the past 8 games, Ole Brook has hit at a 54percent clip from the field. Turnovers have been kept aminimum.

“We have shot the basketball well lately,” said Brookhaven headcoach Ronald Hines. “Also. we have been cutting down on turnovers,too.”

The Eagles (14-13) opened the game with the hot hand. Behind theshooting of guard J.K. Thompson, head coach Darrin Chancellor’sballclub took a 19-15 lead into the second quarter. Thompson sacked4 treys and had 15 points, before going down with an ankle injurywith 3 minutes left in the first quarter.

Thompson would return later, only making 6 free throws to leadall scorers with 21 points and 3 assists. By then, the Panthers haderased a 10-point deficit and turned it into a 35-all deadlock atthe intermission break.

The Panther defense played a major role in the Eagle drought, asBrookhaven scored 6 points off of 16 Florence turnovers.Chancellor’s squad went scoreless off of 11 Ole Brook miscues.

“Our defense made the difference in the game,” Hines added.

Brookhaven took the lead for good at 39-37 with 6:44 left in thethird, on an offensive putback by center Fred Fairman. The Panthersoutscored Florence 33-23 the rest of the game.

Another balanced scoring effort for Brookhaven saw reserveforward Fabian Gibson lead the attack with 16 points; includingseveral crowd-pleasing dunks. Marcus McGee followed with 13 points,8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals. Fairman has 12 points, 6rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Chad Hall pumped in 10 points.

Brookhaven’s bench outscored Florence 24-19, and the Pantherheld a 10-4 advantage in second-chance scoring. Hines’ ballclubheld a commanding 41-25 rebounding edge.

Florence also got 15 points from Keith Chancellor.