Battle of 20-win teams between BHS and West Jones in region final Friday

Published 1:14 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022

Expect high level basketball Friday in Sinclair Gymnasium when the Brookhaven High girls’ basketball team tangles with their rivals from West Jones for the Region 5-5A championship. A first-round bye in next week’s MHSAA 5A playoffs is on the line as the teams split their regular season matchups.

Brookhaven High (21-4) won 64-63 when the teams played on Jan. 7 in Sinclair. West Jones (20-4) returned the favor on Jan. 25 with a 53-41 in over BHS in Soso.

Tipoff for the title is set for 7 p.m. on Friday. The BHS boys’ team will take on Natchez High in a consolation game that starts at 5:30 p.m. The Panthers (14-10) ended up in the consolation game after losing 52-44 to West Jones on Tuesday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ole Brook boy’s coach Charlton Grey had led his team to two wins over the Mustangs in the regular season — 73-52 and 55-51.

The Panthers jumped up early on West Jones Tuesday before the Mustangs (9-14) got a second half lead that they were able to salt away. Senior wing Elijah Kennedy led the Panthers with 17 points in the loss.

Grey’s team beat Natchez 69-39 on Jan. 11 and 58-52 on Jan. 28. Florence (22-2) beat Natchez 55-49 in their semifinal matchup to set up a game against West Jones in the finals at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.

A win against Natchez will keep the season alive for Brookhaven High as they’ll play on the road in the first-round next week with a victory. A loss against Natchez (5-16) would end the season for the Panthers.

For coach Preston Wilson’s girls’ team, West Jones is a familiar opponent. The teams split regular season games last season and BHS won the third pairing in the region tournament. Ole Brook won both games in the 2019-2020 season as Wilson’s team made it all the way to the MSHAA 5A state championship that season.

A 27-2 season for Brookhaven High in 2018-2019 was ended with a playoff loss to West Jones. That night BHS went up big early before West Jones came storming back for a 78-68 win. In that game, Brookhaven got 30 points from Snudda Collins, now a sophomore at Ole Miss, and West Jones was led by 23 points from guard Brikayla Gray, who is currently a starter for Southern Miss.

West Jones made this year’s finals after beating Natchez 50-34 on Tuesday. Later that night, BHS whipped Florence 63-28 in the first round. Natchez (3-14) and Florence (11-10) get things started with a consolation girls matchup Friday at 4 p.m.

Junior guard Angel Wilkinson led BHS with 16 points in the win over Florence.