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BHS girls hang on against Lawrence County Lady Cougars

Ole Brook’s Lady Panthers survived against one of the best teams in the region Friday night, squeezing down on Lawrence County’s top shooter in the game’s final seconds to hang on tight for a 38-35 victory.

With Brookhaven leading 36-35 and the game clock at single digits, Lady Cougars’ senior Camryn Davis attacked inside for what could have been a game-winning shot, but three Lady Panthers collapsed on the paint and forced her to travel as she fought through their bodies. The misstep gave Brookhaven the ball with three seconds remaining, and Ole Brook freshman Ashanti Louis tacked on the game’s final two points at the free throw line to end it.

“I tried to drive in and draw a foul, but it didn’t work out,” Davis said.

The turnover was the critical play of the game, an evenly-fought contest in which neither team revealed a weakness and both stayed within a couple of baskets of the lead all night long.

Davis and her teammates beat the Ole Brook defense to score from close range throughout the game, while Brookhaven relied on hot shooters to drop baskets over the Lady Cougars’ heads.

“The first half we were kind of sluggish. We have a tendency to not start as strong as we finish, so coach told us to get after it, to always shoot with confidence,” said Ole Brook sophomore Ayanna McNairy. “Mainly, it’s moving without the ball. You have to get to your spot in a hurry.”

McNairy’s confidence netted her eight points, most of which came off a pair of long three-pointers, including one in the middle of the high-scoring fourth quarter, an 18-14 running shootout claimed by Brookhaven.

The final stanza started with Lawrence County leading 21-20, but the careful play of the game’s previous quarters turned into a basket-swap of transition layups, traded three-pointers and the occasional free throw.

Accurate shooting and just enough defense made the difference, said Lady Panthers coach Preston Wilson.

“We stayed poised, didn’t get rattled. We were just trying to make certain we stayed close,” he said. “We’re fortunate to get by tonight. Lawrence County is a great team.”

Lady Cougars coach Vicki Rutland said her team had too many mistakes that ultimately overwhelmed otherwise solid play. The Lawrence County girls committed 17 turnovers, normal for a basketball game, but shot 29 percent, going 12 of 42 on field goal attempts.

“These are the lessons you have to learn,” Rutland said. “Any time Lawrence County and Brookhaven play, it’s going to be a lot more intense and emotional for both teams. We need this kind of competition heading into district play.”

Ole Brook junior Tamia Stallings led her team in scoring with 10 points, grabbing 15 of the Lady Panthers’ 24 total rebounds and ripping out five steals. McNairy and freshman Ashanti Louis came next with eight points each, while sophomore Silentianna Collins had four.

Juniors Yacoriuna Braxton, Miyah Miller and Cynphoni Thompson, and senior senior Johnique James, each had two points.

For Lawrence County, junior Kyunna Thomas led with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Davis scored nine and grabbed nine. Sophomore Neziah Smith dropped in five points and senior Tyranesha Davis threw in two.

The loss drops Lawrence County to a still-fantastic 9-2 on the year, with both losses rolling off the fingertips of the Lady Panthers. Even though Ole Brook stands at an average 6-5, they apparently have a plan that works against their old rivals from Monticello.

“It makes me feel like we can beat anybody,” said Ole Brook’s Collins.

The Lady Panthers travel to South Pike Wednesday night and host Warren Central Friday night. The Lady Cougars host Jefferson Davis County Thursday night and travel to the Bay High Tournament in Bay St. Louis Dec. 27 and 28.