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Brookhaven Panthers can’t come back on Vikings

Brookhaven’s Panthers played from behind for most of the game and couldn’t catch up to the Vikings of Warren Central, losing this home game 70-58.

Ole Brook fell in a hole early Friday night and couldn’t climb out. Warren Central mixed up their offensive tempo to keep the Panthers off balance and won at the boards — the Panthers had only 24 rebounds for the game, with a meager 10 grabs on defense.

“We played bad in the first half. We tried to fight through it and build on to our next game,” Panthers junior forward John Hilbert said.

Playing up-tempo, Ole Brook was able to find the net to start the game, but the Vikings tied it at five-all and took off from there. With their rebound game on point, Warren Central got extra opportunities and led the first quarter 16-6.

The Vikings kept the engine running in a fast second quarter, outscoring the Panthers 20-13 and taking a 36-19 lead into halftime.

Points rained down in the third quarter, but most of them belonged to Warren Central. Brookhaven cranked up its offensive speed and tried to bite into the lead, scoring 18 third-quarter points, but the Panthers weren’t able to throw up any roadblocks for the Vikings. Warren Central answered with 16 points in the third — a losing effort, but enough to maintain a big 52-37 lead.

Brookhaven’s defense got involved in the final period, picking up turnovers to help their offense stay in the game, but it wasn’t enough. The Vikings kept on scoring and kept the Panthers away by double digits, shutting down Ole Brook’s late comeback attempt to win 70-58.

“We had a bad first half, but I’m pleased with the second half,” said Brookhaven coach Marcus Flippin. “We played better offense in the second half which gave us the chance to stay in the game. Overall, we played well.”

The Panthers’ shooting was a little rusty, no doubt due to Warren Central’s effort on defense. Brookhaven guaranteed less than a coin flip on inside shots, going 17-of-38 for 45 percent. Ole Brook lost the rebound battle — and likely the game — by firing up a truckload of bad three-pointers. The Panthers fired 29 shots from the arc and hit only four for 14 percent.

Brookhaven had two players in double digits. Seniors Richard Marshall and Lafollette Bogan each had 12 points. Senior Keith Robinson had eight points, three rebounds and one assist. Junior Axavian Jones shot six points, five rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Byrion Robinson hit five points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Hilbert and sophomore Kadarius Wells each had four points, while Hilbert also had five rebounds and two assists. Junior Trey Lyons finished the night with one point and one rebound.

Brookhaven will next play on Thursday and Friday as they take part in the McComb Coca-Cola Holiday Tournament.

Warren Central will be action on Jan. 5 as they take on Greenville.

Story by Dave Linton