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Ole Brook eliminates Pearl; Panthers stun No. 1-seeded Pirates

MCCOMB – Through blood, sweat and determination, the Brookhaven Panthers and Lady Panthers kept their basketball season alive with two huge wins over the Pearl Pirates Tuesday night in the opening round of the Region 6-5A Tournament at McComb Gymnasium.

In the girls game, the No. 1-seeded Lady Panthers overcame a sluggish performance to edge the Lady Pirates 36-34.

In boys action, the Panthers emerged from a tough, physical battle to stun the No. 1-seeded Pirates with a 50-45 triumph.

In other tournament action, the McComb Lady Tigers clipped the Wingfield Lady Falcons 56-53. In the boys bracket, the Tigers rallied to surpass the Falcons 49-44.

Brookhaven and McComb will battle for the region championships Friday. The girls tip off at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30.

Both BHS and McComb have automatically qualified for the state playoffs, which begin Feb. 18 for the girls and Feb. 19, for the boys.

Brookhaven 36, Pearl 34

The No. 1 Lady Panthers and No. 4 Lady Pirates came out strong in the first quarter and battled for the second time in four days. The Lady Panthers used their size in the paint to gain the upper hand and commanded a 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter, the tough battle continued, but Brookhaven (21-6) managed to maintain a 19-15 advantage at halftime.

In the second half, the Lady Pirates (4-21) fought back and outscored the Lady Panthers 19-17. They slowed the pace of the game to eliminate Brookhaven’s power attack in the paint. At the end of the third quarter the score was tied 25-all.

In the fourth quarter, the tough, grueling match intensified as both team traded baskets. With 20 seconds left in the contest, Brookhaven senior center Carey Crozier hit the potential game-winning basket in the lane.

Pearl had numerous chances in the closing 15 seconds to tie the game or take the lead but went 0-for-6 at the charity line.

Senior center Archea Brotherns was the offensive leader for the Lady Panthers with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Diamond Herring netted 7 points. Fredericka Fairman led on the boards with 8 rebounds.

“This was a tough, physical contest,” said Brookhaven coach Freda Craft. “We had a wacky start, but through discipline , determination and dedication, our girls battled through to get the win.”

Adrianna Horne directed the Lady Pirate’s offense with 10 points. Kaelin Kersh and Jaihda McClinton contributed 9 points apiece.

“Free throws were the difference of the game,” said Pearl coach Lacey Kennedy. “The girls fought hard until the end. I am proud of them. They have continued to improve all season long.”

Brookhaven 50, Pearl 45

The Panther and Pirates were locked in a tough, physical battle. In the first quarter, Pearl (14-13) took control and hurdled Brookhaven to gain a 16-4 lead.

In the second quarter, the Panthers (12-15) roared back with a 14-0 run to capture the lead but the Pirates managed to tie the game 21-all at halftime.

In the third quarter, Brookhaven continued their hot shooting streak and put another 14-0 run to seize the lead. The Panthers outscored the Pirates 29-24 in the second half and held on in the final minutes.

Senior center Ryan Thibodeaux pumped in a game-high 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Fred Trevillion provided a strong performance as he paced Brookhaven with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“This was a good win for the guys,” said BHS coach Preston Wilson. “We managed to limit our turnovers and maintain our composure in the closing minutes to preserve the win. I am very pleased with the guys effort.”

Justin Gilberry led the Pirates in scoring with 12 points. Jabarie Escoffery contributed 10 points.

“We did not come ready to play,” said Pearl coach Russell Evans. “Brookhaven came out hungry and did the things needed to get the win. It is tough to beat the same team three times in a season. Our guys came in thinking it would be a cake-walk and Brookhaven took it to us.”

McComb 56, Wingfield 53

The Lady Tigers had three players score in double figures. Angeline Earl and Raneka Felder were the offensive leader with 17 points. Alexus Johnson netted 12 points.

Ariel Hilliard directed the Lady Falcons with 17 points. Brittany Jones contributed 16 points and Mercedes Morgan had 15.

McComb 49, Wingfield 44

Shemar Williams led the Tigers with a team-high 13 points.

Steven Barnes paced the Falcons with 17 points. Matt Gould provided 10 points.