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Lady Panthers outclass South Pike 65-31

The Lady Panthers shot a huge second quarter against South Pike Tuesday night, putting the game away early and coasting to a 65-31 home win.

Ole Brook’s girls outran and overpowered the smaller Lady Eagles, getting into shooting position with ease and mauling South Pike’s shooters on defense for a 27-point second quarter that pretty much ended the game. Brookhaven sat on an insurmountable 49-14 lead at halftime and reserves began rotating in and out early in the third quarter to wind down a slower second half.

“We just played our defense like we were supposed to, and they couldn’t handle it,” said Brookhaven junior center Tamia Stallings. “We got the steals.”

The Lady Panthers’ defense choked the life out of South Pike’s game plan. The she-cats ripped out 17 steals on the night and crowded the basket for 23 defensive boards.

Brookhaven only had nine offensive rebounds, but that’s because most of their shots hit home. Probably the most impressive statistic for the Lady Panthers was their 14 assists — the passing lanes were open and the home team used them to great effect.

“Not everybody on their team could keep up with their man,” said Ole Brook freshman Ashanti Louis. “At first we didn’t come full speed, but as the game went on we picked up the pace.”

The Lady Panthers did start a little slow, as they are wont to do, but made up for it in the bottom of the first quarter to lead the opening period 15-6. They took the wild second quarter 27-8 to break South Pike early.

The Lady Panthers started putting the bench on the court in the third and slowed back down to a 16-7 segment, and the Lady Eagles won the final period 10-7 after the damage was done.

All 14 of the Lady Panthers got playing time, and 10 scored points.

Stallings and Louis set the pace with 15 points each, and Louis led the team in steals with seven. Sophomore Silentianna Collins had a frustrating night shooting but still dropped in nine points, and junior Miyah Miller was right behind with eight. Collins led the team in rebounds with six, while Miller fired off the most assists with four.

Junior Cynphoni Thompson scored six, while juniors Yacoriuna Braxton and Dymonde Washington and sophomore Ayanna McNairy scored three apiece. Senior Taylor Carter scored two, and sophomore Sarquita Cook scored one.

The Lady Panthers were far too much for the Lady Eagles, whose roster contains only three seniors and even a pair of eighth-graders.

“We’re just a young team, and this was just a game for us to get better,” said South Pike coach Hilton Harrell.

Lady Panthers coach Preston Wilson said the blowout allowed him to limit his starters’ playing time and get younger girls on the court.

“We got to see how they handle certain situations so we can get ready for the future,” he said.

For the Lady Panthers, the future is Friday night. The Lady Bulldogs of Natchez are coming to town for the first Region 6-5A game of the season.

Thompson said her team used the slower second half of the South Pike game to test out some schemes in preparation for Natchez and the region games beyond. The Lady Panthers have also ramped up their practices, she said.

“We practice things we wouldn’t normally run, and we’re getting deeper into our defense,” she said. “We have to be ready to play our game — our game — against Natchez.”

The Lady Panthers are 12-5 on the season. The Natchez game starts at 6 p.m.

South Pike drops to 6-6. The Lady Eagles begin Region 6-4A play by hosting Richland Tuesday night.