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Provine pulls away for 60-55 win over BHS

A 13-0 run in the third quarter ended up being the difference in a tight game Thursday as Provine (5-1) used that push to grab a 60-55 win over Brookhaven High (2-5) inside Sinclair Gymnasium.

Leading 30-29, the Rams from Jackson got back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Nicholaus Council and junior Deion Smith to start the run.

The Provine 3-quarter trap then created two straight turnovers that resulted in dunks by Smith as the visitors had seized all the momentum in a tight game.

A hook shot by senior McLain Henderson in the paint broke the scoreless streak for BHS and on the following trip senior Jermario Hersey knocked down a 3-pointer for the Panthers to make the score 43-34, but the damage had been done.

BHS pulled within 56-52 late on a put-back dunk by La’Darius Thrasher, but Provine made free-throws late to secure the win.

A 6-foot-5 combo forward, Smith was one of several impressive talents for Provine. The Rams have quality in their bench and half their team falls somewhere in the 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-5 range. Sophomore guard Samarion Grant led the Rams with 17 points, ten of which came in the fourth quarter. Smith added 12 points and 10 rebounds

Last year when Brookhaven needed a bucket they looked for Lafollete Bogan to get a score as the senior averaged 22 points per game. Bogan is now a freshman for Southwest Mississippi CC and coach Marcus Flippin says his team is still trying to establish their roles early in the season.

The Panthers have also had a higher number of players transitioning from the football field than usual. Hersey will be one of the leaders for BHS but had to heal up from a football ankle injury and a sickness that had Flippin giving him plenty of rest Thursday.

The game was tied at 14-14 after the first quarter and a corner 3-pointer by Thrasher just before the halftime horn put BHS up 27-26 at the break. Thrasher led BHS with 16 points.

A high-jumping junior guard, Thrasher played at the point last season, but this year he’ll be used both on and off the ball. Hersey will hold down the other wing when healthy and senior 6-foot-3 forward Kadarius Wells will be counted on to again do the dirty work inside. Wells scored 11 points Tuesday night and Hersey added five points.

As the Panthers improved last year on their way to a 21-win season, they often counted on the physicality of senior John Hilbert. Hilbert is now a wide receiver at East Central Community College and Flippin is still looking for who’s going to step up and help carry that load.

Sophomore Elijah Kennedy is one Panther filling a new role as he added nine points for Ole Brook while playing the point for much of the second half. Senior Piedro Wilson scored five points as did fellow senior Johntavious Wilkinson. Daeton Davis scored two points and Henderson finished with two points.

“We came out flat after halftime and we couldn’t overcome their run,” said Flippin. “We’re going to be OK. We’ve got everybody back from football and we’re getting those guys acclimated. We’ve taken some lumps early on, but I think as we move towards Christmas we’ll see it start to come together.”

The Panthers will take on Crystal Springs and Terry next week in the Lawrence County Tournament and next play at home Dec. 6 against Franklin County.