BHS Lady Panthers headed to face Natchez

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

It was over early Monday in Sinclair Gymnasium as the Brookhaven High Lady Panthers (9-5) jumped up 23-2 over visiting Gautier (10-15) in their MHSAA 5A opening round playoff game.

BHS would cruise to a 72-31 win and set their sights on a second round road matchup Wednesday with Natchez High at 6 p.m.

Junior forward Kyja Willis was a catalyst for the opening surge as she scored 11 points in the opening eight minutes of action. Willis ended with a game-high 19 points in the win.

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Willis didn’t play the last time Natchez and Ole Brook hooked up on Jan. 19.

That night at Brookhaven the Lady Bulldogs took a 55-39 win.

“We walked around and didn’t play to our needed level of intensity that night,” said Willis. “We turned the ball over and gave them too many easy baskets and if we can correct those things it should be a pretty good matchup.”

It’s the second straight year for the schools to meet in the postseason as BHS eliminated Natchez last year in a second game at Brookhaven.

Ten different Lady Panthers got their name in the scorebook against Gautier as senior point guard Ashanti Louis scored 15 points and sophomore Angel Wilkinson chipped in 13 points as well.

Raven Smith scored six points, Makiya Stallings added five points and Leah Wilcher scored four points.

Aniyah Cook added three points while Nicole Gamble and Aliyah Watkins each scored two points. Timyia Cooper rounded out the BHS scoring with one point.

The winner between Brookhaven and Natchez will face Wayne County in the quarterfinals.