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Wilson bags 300th victory; Lady Panthers stumble

Brookhaven High School head boys basketball coach Preston Wilsonnotched his 300th overall coaching victory Tuesday night, as hisPanthers fought off a stubborn group of Hazlehurst Indians 74-65 inSinclair Gymnasium.

In the varsity girls game, Hazlehurst’s Jasmine Bozeman made abasket with under three seconds left in the game and propelled theLady Indians to a 51-49 win over the Brookhaven Lady Panthers.

Brookhaven travels to Lawrence County Friday for 3 games tippingoff around 4:45 p.m. with a JV boys game. The varsity girls andboys get under way at 6 and 7:30.

Brookhaven 74, Hazlehurst 65

“It was a great accomplishment,” said Wilson who is in hissecond tour at BHS. “I am glad that this happened atBrookhaven.”

Wilson’s career worksheet now stands at 300 wins and 178 losses(63 percent) in 478 games; including coaching stints at WarrenCentral, Woodlawn (Shreveport, LA) and Lawrence County.

His 8-year record at BHS is an astounding 178-61 mark (75percent).

Following the game, Wilson was presented with the game ball byassistant coach Dorian Williams. It was autographed by teammembers.

The Panthers (9-2) were a bit slow coming out the starting gateas they claimed a 19-15 first quarter lead.

Under the direction of former Crystal Springs and Terry headcoach Reginald Magee, Hazlehurst went on a 15-4 run to claim a30-23 lead early in the second. Indian standout Gabriel Gray had 11of his team-high 23 points in the opening half.

The Panthers led 37-30 entering the halftime locker room.

“We played well tonight,” Wilson commented. “We shot the ballwell.”

The 7-point deficit by Hazlehurst would be as close as theIndians would get, as the Panthers shot 56 percent (15 of 27) inthe second half; and 46 percent (29 of 63) for the game.

The Indians made 11 treys in the game, with Gray sacking 4 andWillie Ervin knocking down 3. Ervin had 13 points in the game.

For Brookhaven, 6-foot-8 senior center Fred Fairman led allscorers with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Daniel Washington, at6-foot-6, had 9 points and 14 rebounds. Leo Garrett and Ross Hilldished out 3 assists apiece. Chris Rancifer had 3 steals.

The Panthers committed 16 turnovers compared to 21 byHazlehurst.

Hazlehurst 51, Brookhaven 49

The Lady Panthers (4-7) came out of the starting gate on fire,hitting 8 of their first 10 shots (80 percent); including 6straight to start the game. That forged Brookhaven head coach FredaCraft’s team to an 18-15 advantage, heading into the second quarterand a 33-24 lead at halftime.

“This was the best shooting half we have had all year,’ Craftcommented. Her ball club shot a blistering 63 percent for the firsthalf.

The Lady Indians, coached by former BHS assistant coach ChastidySandifer, caught fire in the second half; forging a 16-6 thirdframe to claim a 40-39 lead entering the final 8 minutes.

Brookhaven led 49-45 with 1:21 left on the clock on free throwsby junior Tiakara Kelly. The Panthers would go scoreless the restof the game. Missed free throws and turnovers continue to plagueOle Brook at key points during games this season.

“We did not play well in the second half,” Coach Craft said. “Wedid not shoot well, we did not rebound well, we did not playdefense and had too many turnovers in the second half.”

Leading the Lady Indians was Octavia Anderson with 22 points, 7rebounds and 4 steals. Hazlehurst crushed the Lady Panthers on theboards at a 54-33 clip, and shot 47 percent (20 of 43) from thefloor.

For Brookhaven, Kelly had 20 points and 5 assists. Shareeka Hillfollowed with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Christen Benson had 5assists and 3 steals. Craft’s crew had 19 of their 29 turnovers inthe second half, including 11 in the third period.

In the JV boys game, Brookhaven authored a 35-26 win as JemeesWilson paced the Panthers with 7 points. Reggie Jones led allscorers with 11 points for Hazlehurst.