The McComb girls got off to a strong start Friday with a win over Yazoo City to open the McComb Christmas Tournament. However, what momentum was built from the win quickly ran out Saturday as the Tigers could not get over early mistakes, falling to Brookhaven, 57-51.
“We started out well in the first quarter, but the energy desire and fight, it’s like it wasn’t there,” McComb head coach Charlton Grey said. “That is just very disheartening, but they did show their resiliency by fighting back.”
Team leaders Alisha Tucker and Chanel Gayden quickly tried to set the tone for McComb (10-6) with four points apiece. However, they were the lone Tigers to score in the period. Defensively, McComb proved to be a thorn in the sides of Brookhaven (16-2) causing the Panthers to make mistakes, keeping the game close. McComb trailed 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers began to build more momentum in the second quarter as they began to try and pull away. McComb could not retake the lead but did keep pace with the visitors. A field goal by Kinesha Harris made the score 25-19 late in the quarter, but the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter.
The final six points on the run came from three-consecutive steals as the Tigers appeared to struggle mentality-wise.
McComb’s largest deficit came twice in the third quarter as Brookhaven took 16-point leads both early and at the midway point of the period. A 9-2 run brought McComb back into the contest, but a basket by Brookhaven to close the third quarter made the score 46-36 in favor of the Panthers.
Trailing by 11 just after the midway point in the fourth quarter, the Tigers caught fire thanks in large part to Mer’Cades Miller who shined on both ends of the floor, playing tough defense and getting quality baskets and free throws. McComb went on a 9-0 run to pull within four at 55-51 but they could not keep it going.
Tucker led all Tiger scorers with 12 points, while Miller and Gayden posted 11 each. Gayden also had a team-high 14 rebounds to record a double-double.
Tigers fall short against Panthers
It could be looked upon as arguably one of the more competitive games thus far this season for McComb even though the result was not in favor of the host Tigers as they were edged by the Brookhaven Panthers, 72-71, Saturday night in the final game of the 2019 McComb Christmas Tournament.
“We had the game, we really had this game,” McComb head coach Karshae Peterson said. “I think that we got relaxed at the wrong time and it showed. We made some careless turnovers at the end.”
McComb (7-9) got off to a strong start getting a good mix of inside post play coupled with a 3-pointer from Jaylin Jackson to jump ahead 9-3.
The Panthers (6-11) hung in there and got a 3-pointer of its own to climb back into the contest late in the opening period. McComb led 13-12 heading into the second quarter. An 8-2 run ensued as the Tigers began to pull away from the Panthers in the second quarter.
Junior Brodrick Thompson made a heads-up play in the closing seconds in the first half, grabbing a rebound on a missed free throw and getting the putback, giving McComb a 35-28 lead at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Thompson picked up where he left off, scoring the first five points in the second half, giving the Tigers their largest lead of the night at 12. However, the Panthers slowly started chipping away at the lead, pulling within nine at 52-43 heading into the fourth quarter.
About halfway through the quarter, Brookhaven’s Jermario Hersey began to find his rhythm with a 3-pointer and a basket on back-to-back possessions. A few possessions later, the senior connected on another 3-pointer pulling the Panthers within one at 64-63.
A 3-pointer by Daeton Davis put the Panthers up 70-67, but Jackson answered right back with a 3 of his own drawing cheers from the several in attendance inside the McComb gym.
With the game tied late, Edric Spurlock connected on a free throw, giving the Tigers the advantage. But it was answered with a basket by La’darius Thrasher that brought the game-winner for Brookhaven.