Panthers roll over Bulldogs

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

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BROOKHAVEN — Madison Benson lead Brookhaven High School with a game-high 24 points and Kema Roberts had 13 points as the Lady Panthers moved into second place in MHSAA Region 3-5A with a 57-42 win over the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs last Tuesday night.

Brookhaven took advantage of several miscues and turnovers by Natchez High in the first quarter to give the Lady Panthers a 27-11 by the end of the quarter. And that turned out to be key for the home team as the rest of the game was close to even between the two teams.

“They just simply outplayed us (in the first quarter),” Lady Bulldogs head coach Alphaka Moore said. “They rebounded well. Mistakes we made early came back to haunt us.”

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Moore added that Brookhaven had a slight height advantage over Natchez High down in the post, but that wasn’t the main issue for the Lady Bulldogs in the early stages of the game. It was turnovers and defense.

However, the Lady Bulldogs made sure that the Lady Panthers would not turn this game into a blowout. Led by Roniya Ellis and Caleah Kennedy, Natchez High outscored Brookhaven 12-9 in the second quarter to go into halftime down 36-23. But that’s when the Lady Bulldogs’ comeback attempt ended.

Both teams scored 11 points in the third quarter to make it a 47-34 game in Brookhaven’s favor and the Lady Panthers outscored the Lady Bulldogs 10-8 in the fourth quarter. Ellis finished with 17 points while Kennedy poured in 10 points.

The Lady Bulldogs fell to 17-7 overall and 6-3 in Region 3-5A. They play host to South Jones High School in the region finale at 6 p.m. Friday.

In the varsity boys’ game, the Brookhaven High Panthers defeated the Natchez High Bulldogs 57-38 to stay tied for second place with South Jones High School in Region 3-5A.

Brookhaven jumped out to an 18-8 lead over Natchez High at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers 12-11 in the second quarter to go into halftime down 29-20, but after a low-scoring third quarter, the Panthers put the game away with a 22-13 advantage in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs fell to 12-11 overall and 3-6 in region play. They host South Jones High School at 6 p.m. Friday in the regular-season and Region 3-5A finale.