Following a big win last week over Amite County, the South Pike girls carried that momentum into Friday against Brookhaven at the McComb Christmas Tournament but they could not keep it going, falling to the Panthers 34-33.
“I thought that we played well with great defense but it was unfortunate at the end,” South Pike head coach Hilton Harrell said. “It just didn’t fall our way. With as good as a team that Brookhaven is, nobody has come close to beating them. I thought that we controlled the tempo of the game. It is really going to help our girls when we get into district play.”
Abbeygail Gallager helped set the tone early for the Eagles (9-2) with a pair of 3-pointers helping South Pike jump ahead 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.
While both teams struggled from the floor in the second quarter, the Eagles maintained their lead taking a 17-13 advantage into the locker room at the half.
A 6-0 run early in the third quarter helped give South Pike its largest lead of the night at 24-16. But the Panthers responded with a pair of 3-pointers from Sharquita Cook to pull within two at 24-22.
Both teams continued to battle in the fourth and despite getting a 3-pointer from Gallager and regaining possession with only a few seconds to go, the Eagles could not get that final basket before falling to the Panthers.
Gallager led the Eagles with 10 points.
Eagles roll past Panthers
For most of the season, South Pike has relied upon the leadership of Jaborri McGhee and Justin Williams. In Friday’s contest against Brookhaven at the McComb Christmas Tournament, the duo came up big once again for the Eagles as McGhee had 28 points and Williams 26 leading South Pike to an 80-56 win over the Panthers.
“When we come out and share the basketball, move the basketball, play defense, rebound and attack the boards like we were doing, then we are a pretty good basketball team,” said Harrell, who also coaches the boys team. “We just have to continue that and get a little better.”
Right out of the gate, the duo made their presence known combining to score 25 of the Eagles’ (11-1) 33 first quarter points. Meanwhile, the defense shut down the Panthers (6-11) holding them to just eight points in the opening period.
It was more of the same in the second as Williams and McGhee continued to shine. South Pike led 50-19 at the half. Zavion Williams knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game and Devonte Isaac scored two baskets helping to compliment Justin Williams and McGhee in the third quarter.
In the fourth, the Eagles held off a late rally by the Panthers to secure the win.
Saturday’s scheduled games against East Marion were canceled earlier in the day. The move came following the death of South Pike football player Felix Varnado, which occurred overnight Friday.