Brookhaven High whips Pearl River Central, next up is Laurel in 5A 3rd round

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Brookhaven High Lady Panthers (23-5) went to Carriere on Friday and defeated the Blue Devils of Pearl River Central by a 45-28 final.

Pearl River Central (12-12) had earned a first-round bye after winning Region 7-5A. BHS was playing its second game of the week after beating Hattiesburg 61-45 in the first round on Monday.

Junior guard Angel “Cookie” Wilkinson led the way with 13 points for Brookhaven High. Junior center Leah Wilcher added 12 points for coach Preston Wilson’s team.

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The teams were tied at 8-8 after the first quarter, but BHS owned the second quarter with a 16-2 run that put them in control of the game.

Niyah Cook made a team-high four steals in the win. Wilkinson dished out three assists and Kyja Willis pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Willis also added seven points and Alexis Kelly chipped in five points as well. Aliyah Watkins scored four points while Raven Smith and Denaejah Williams rounded out the BHS scoring with two points.

Next up is a trip Friday to face Laurel High on the road Friday in the third round of the MHSAA 5A State Tournament.

Laurel (17-10) beat Florence 49-21 in the first round and Gautier 52-40 in the second round.

Three of the losses this season for Laurel were of the forfeit variety as they dropped games against Wayne County, Hattiesburg and South Jones to quarantine forfeitures. Wayne County beat Laurel 55-51 in overtime in the Region 6-5A tournament championship.

Laurel is the defending 5A state champion. They beat Holmes County Central 39-36 in the title game after HCH had beaten BHS 66-30 in the semifinals.

BHS and Laurel met three times last season as they were in the same region last year. Laurel won two of three including the region championship game.

The winner between Laurel and Brookhaven High will move on to the state semifinal to play the winner of Columbus (21-4) and Canton (20-9). The other quarterfinals have Wayne County (19-7) playing West Jones (22-4) and Neshoba Central (30-0) taking on Vicksburg High (20-7).