Brookhaven High sweeps hoops doubleheader from visiting Natchez

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Both Brookhaven High varsity basketball teams put a bow on the regular season Friday with a sweep of visiting Natchez High in varsity action.

The BHS girls moved to 20-4 on the season with a 63-41 win over Natchez in the opening game. The team rebounded nicely from its first Region 5-5A loss of the season, a 53-41 setback to West Jones earlier in the week.

The Ole Brook boys solidly set themselves up as the No. 2 seed in this year’s region tournament with a 58-52 win over the Bulldogs in the finale.

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Brookhaven High had been scheduled for one more regular season pairing this week against Vicksburg High, but those games have been cancelled.

The Natchez girls (3-13) actually led 10-9 after one quarter, before BHS coach Preston Wilson’s team fought back to take a 21-18 halftime lead.

The third quarter was when Brookhaven did the most damage as they outscored NHS 28-6 to take command of the game.

Senior forward De’Naejah Williams led the Lady Panthers with 19 points in the win. Williams was a highly efficient 7-of-10 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from the 3-point line.

Junior guard Angel “Cookie” Wilkinson added 16 points for Wilson’s squad. Wilkinson added five rebounds and four steals in the win and is averaging 19.2 points per game on the season.

Senior Kyja Willis added seven points while also making seven steals. Junior center Leah Wilcher scored five points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots. Raven Smith and Aliyah Watkins added four points each. Anna Gamble scored three points, Makyia Stallings added two points, Alexis Kelly scored two points and Tyuna Harris scored one point for BHS.

The win by West Jones gives them the No. 1 seed in the region tournament that will be hosted by BHS on Feb. 8 and 11.

The Brookhaven High girls will face Florence in the first round while Natchez will play West Jones.

The Brookhaven boys will also be the No. 2 seed as their only region losses this season were to Florence High (21-2).

Florence beat the Panthers 76-66 in Sinclair Gymnasium and 51-47 in Rankin County earlier in the season.

First-year BHS boys coach Charlton Grey and his team are 14-9 overall and had previously beaten Natchez 68-39 on the road in their first meeting.

On senior night, it was a pair of seniors that led BHS in scoring against Natchez. Senior point guard Demeriuntia Jackson scored 21 points for the Panthers while senior wing Elijah Kennedy added 15 points.

Kennedy pulled down eight rebounds while Jackson secured seven boards. Both seniors handed out four assists each while Kennedy made four steals and Jackson added three.

Jackson is averaging a team-best 15.6 points per game while Kennedy is averaging 10.3 points, 7.2 rebounds 4.5 assists and 3.1 steals per game.

Senior Anthony Sanders added nine points, senior Elijah Wilcher scored four points and senior Tabious Smiley added four points as well. Sophomore Jalen Haliburton scored three points for Grey’s team and senior Jacobieus Perkins rounded out the BHS scoring with two points.

The 6-foot-7 Sanders pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds for BHS while also blocking four shots.

Natchez finishes as the No. 4 seed on the boys’ side of the region and will play Florence in the opening round of the tournament. That means BHS will match up with West Jones in the first round.

BHS beat West Jones73-52 and 55-51 when the teams met in the regular season.