Lady Panthers take on Laurel in region championship tonight

Published 2:04 pm Friday, February 12, 2021

The Brookhaven High girls’ basketball team will be gunning for their fourth straight region title tonight when they take on Laurel in the Region 5-5A Tournament title game.

To do so, Lady Panthers (8-4) will have to knock Laurel (13-2) off on their homecourt. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Tuesday at Laurel, Brookhaven put themselves in position to play for the title by outlasting West Jones 41-35. The Lady Panthers were led in the win by a 21-point outing from sophomore Angel Wilkinson. Wilkinson also grabbed a team high nine rebounds for coach Preston Wilson and his staff.

Junior Denaejah Williams added six points as did senior point guard Ashanti Louis. Junior Kyja Willis scored four points while Aniyah Cook and Nicole Gamble added two points apiece.

Wilkinson leads the team by averaging just over 12 points per game this season. Willis adds 10 per night while Louis is scoring 9.7 per game.

Laurel is led by the senior duo of Zoey Cooley and Mackenzie Thomas. Cooley scores a team high 13.2 points per game while Thomas adds 11.3 per night for coach Sheri Cooley.

Cooley and Thomas are both Jones College signees.

When the two teams last met on Feb. 2 BHS took a 58-57 win. The only other loss this season for Laurel prior to that night was to 6A Meridian (13-3).

Cooley scored 17 on Feb. 2 but was topped by 19 from Wilkinson. The Lady Panthers were strong from the free throw line in the win as they hit 21-of-27 from the stripe.

The winner of tonight’s title game will receive a first-round bye next week in the opening round of the MHSAA 5A State Tournament.

The second-place team will host a game next week in the first round.

At the same time that the BHS girls’ team is playing at Laurel High, the BHS boys’ team will be playing at Laurel Middle School in their consolation game.

Due to a COVID-19 related quarantine, the Panthers were not able to play in the semifinals and had to forfeit their opening game to top seeded Laurel.

West Jones defeated South Jones in the other semifinal. BHS will take on South Jones with the winner playing in a road playoff game next week and the loser having their season end.

The Panthers (1-10) lost 57-41 to the Braves at home and 46-37 in Ellisville earlier this season.