Strong bench leads McComb past Brook
MCCOMB – It was one-sided in both games. The Brookhaven Lady Panthers overpowered McComb’s girls 58-36 and the Tigers returned the favor in the boys game, roaring to a 61-38 Friday night region 5A win.
McComb 61, BHS 38
McComb’s starting lineup was barely needed against Brookhaven. The Tigers’ bench exploded in the second quarter and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
“We’re shorthanded and playing the best we can right now,” Brookhaven coach Preston Wilson said. “McComb is always talented and we came up a little short.”
Reserve Emmanuel Thompson came off the bench and scored 10 quick points in the quarter, helping McComb (17-6, 3-2) to a 32-15 halftime lead. He didn’t score for the rest of the game but still led the Tigers in scoring and was among five players who scored seven or more points.
“I was really impressed with them (Friday) and how far they’ve come along,” McComb coach Hilton Harrell said of his bench. “They scored (14) points in that little stretch. That’s just amazing to get that from your bench.”
Freshman Antonio Cowart drilled a 3-pointer to open the second quarter, breaking a 13-13 tie. Then McComb’s second team of Thompson, Roy Patterson and Carlos Porter helped bring a near-capacity crowd to its feet with an array of 3-pointers. Patterson, who finished with eight points, nailed two quick 3’s, before Thompson buried a pair from the corner.
“They hurt us in transition a lot early in the game with some 3-point shots when we didn’t close out on shooters,” Wilson said.
McComb’s bench accounted for 31 of its 61 points and easily outplayed Brookhaven’s second unit, which mustered only eight points. Six of those came during garbage time toward the end of the fourth quarter.
Brookhaven (8-13, 0-5) came out of the gate strong and played McComb even in the first eight minutes. A horrid 1 of 11 shooting in the second quarter, however, led to the 17-point halftime deficit.
“We’ve always had a quarter where we haven’t been able to put it together and (Friday) it was the second quarter,” Wilson said.
The Panthers got within 34-27 midway through the third quarter on the back of Ryan Thibode aux, but the Tigers quickly answered to regain a 41-30 lead after three quarters.
McComb’s defense clamped down in the final quarter and held Brookhaven’s offense to just two points until the final minutes of play. The Tigers forced 22 Brookhaven turnovers and held the Panthers to 15 of 44 shooting (34 percent).
Thibodeaux netted 10 points for Brookhaven. Fred Trevillion led all scorers with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Stacey Mack pulled down 13 rebounds for McComb and Cowart hit 3 of 4 from beyond the arc to finish with nine points.
McComb has its final district game with Wingfield on Feb. 1, while Brookhaven wraps up district play against Pearl on Feb. 8.
Lady Panthers Win Big
An emotional Coach Angelia Johnson recited an eloquent send off for her five seniors on Friday night against Brookhaven.
It came just minutes after Johnson saw her team fall apart in the second half in a lopsided loss to Brookhaven.
Brookhaven held McComb to just five points in the second half and watched the Lady Tigers shoot four percent during those 16 minutes of action.
McComb was without its leading scoring Angeline Earl, who missed her second straight game with a hip injury. Earl started the game because of Senior Night and drained a 3-pointer before Johnson pulled her 10 seconds into the game.
“You can’t (explain it), you can’t (explain it),” Johnson said of the poor shooting.
McComb looked primed to honor its five seniors – Alexus Johnson, Angelique Earl, Angeline Earl, Raneka Felder and Raven Tucker – with a win after a 9-0 start to the game.
Brookhaven mounted a mini comeback, although McComb enjoyed a comfortable 31-25 lead at halftime.
An imaginary lid appeared on the Lady Tigers’ basket in the second half as McComb went 0 for 10 in the third quarter and 1 of 12 in the final quarter. LaDiamond Crumedy ended a 10:36 scoring drought midway through the fourth quarter with McComb’s only field goal of the second half. That brought the Lady Tigers to within 42-33, but the Lady Panthers went on a shooting clinic and finished the game on a 16-3 run.
“We’ve had two games this season where we’ve played four quarters,” Coach Johnson said. “Two games out of 23, that’s not enough.”
Without Angeline Earl, McComb often looked lost at times on offense. Earl’s ability to knock down 3-pointers has maintained balance in its offense all year.
On Friday night, the Lady Tigers lacked rhythm. When McComb missed, Brookhaven was there to vacuum up any loose balls. The Lady Panthers dominated the glass and held a 46-26 rebound margin, receiving double-digit rebounds from three different players. Carey Crozier pulled down 17 rebounds to go along with eight points. Fredericka Fairman had 13 rebounds and Archea Brotherns had 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Christen Benson led Brookhaven with 15 points. Brookhaven, coached by Freda Craft, visits Wingfield Tuesday night for region action.