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BHS ladies drop Wingfield 62-40

There is crying in basketball.

Not much. Just enough tears to make a moment special.

Lady Panthers’ senior Taylor Carter hid her face and cried a little Friday evening after being honored at Brookhaven’s senior recognition ceremony. She had just helped her team hang a 62-40 victory on Region 5-6A opponent Wingfield, and standing there in the middle of the court with the folks who love her, amidst the applause and flashing cameras and colored balloons, she had a realization.

It’s almost over.

“I’m going to miss it,” said Carter, a four-year member of the basketball team. “I’ll miss my team and how we play together, our bond, our chemistry. There’s nothing like it. This is like a family to me.”

It was Brookhaven’s last home game of the season. Ole Brook is on the road to finish out region play, but they will host the region tournament this year. With a double-elimination structure, that means they’re only promised two more games on the home court this season, barring any relocations from the Jackson-area teams due to infrastructure trouble.

For Carter and Johnique James, the Lady Panthers’ only other senior, it will be the final home games of their careers.

“It makes me upset to think about it,” James said. “It came too fast.”

For Carter and James, at least, the pain of the end was offset by the sweeter flavors of victory over Wingfield. The Lady Panthers built a wall around the Lady Falcons in a 15-5 second quarter outpouring the visiting team was unable to scale in a better-played second half, coasting into the 62-40 win.

“Coach Wilson always tells us to get wide and then crash to the goal,” said Carter, who scored six points and picked up three rebounds on offense. “Wingfield wasn’t that good at staying with their man, so we were able to get loose and get to the basket.”

The Lady Panthers scored 38 second-half points, dishing a fine 22 assists to one another as the points stacked up. Hard work was done on defense, as the she-cats blanketed the key to grab 27 of their 46 total rebounds on defense.

James put in a good day’s work on defense, grabbing a team-high six of the 18 total steals and tying the lead in assists with four. Even so, she said something was missing.

“I don’t feel like we played like ourselves. We can do better,” James said. “We have to watch our film and keep practicing hard.”

The Lady Panthers did start a little slow, scoring only nine points in the first quarter before waking up to drop in 15 in the second. The Lady Falcons’ offense charged up in the second half, beating Ole Brook’s defense for 16 third-quarter points and 13 in the fourth, but the Lady Panthers put in 19 in each quarter, with reserve players keeping the squad fresh and contributing points.

Lady Panthers coach Preston Wilson was happy with the girls’ solid team play, but said more improvement has to happen, and happen now. The team is on the road the next six straight games.

“We need to work on rebounding and some of our defensive schemes,” Wilson said. “We’re giving up some easy baskets in our transition defense, and we were kind of ragged tonight in our press.”

Sophomore Ayanna McNairy led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 11 points, nine of which came off some good-looking three-point shots. Junior Tamia Stallings and sophomore Silentianna Collins scored 10 points each, while Carter and junior Cynphoni Thompson dropped in six.

Freshman Ashanti Louis scored five, while juniors Miyah Miller and Dymonde Washington and sophomore Sharquita Cook scored four points apiece. Junior Yacoriuna Braxton finished with two points.

Wingfield juniors Ty’Nicia Chism and Tahja Coleman led the Lady Falcons in scoring with 11 points, while senior Jhakwanza Lockhart scored six. Senior Ciana Williams scored five. Seniors Alexis Luckett and April White, along with junior Tyzeta Lomax, scored two points a piece. Freshman Claudasheia Buck scored one.

Lady Falcons coach LaQunda Nichols said her team will need to be more patient with the ball next time they face the Lady Panthers Feb. 6.

“We were rushing with the ball, and we played a little bit out of control,” she said.

The win moves the Lady Panthers to 16-5 on the season and 3-0 in Region 6-5A. The Lady Falcons have had a hard year, and now stand at 1-12 and winless in region play.

The Lady Panthers travel to Forest Hill tonight to Natchez Friday. Wingfield heads to Callaway tonight and hosts Natchez Friday.