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Brandon rides big fourth quarter past Terry 52-47 in Class 6A Boys Quarterfinals

The Bulldogs benefited from two big steals in the final minutes of the game

POPLARVILLE — The mission for the Brandon Bulldogs this season has been one of redemption.

Now they're headed to the only place they can find it.

Behind two key late defensive stops, the Bulldogs held hold off Terry 52-47 in the Third Round of the MHSAA Boys Class 6A Basketball playoffs at Pearl River Community College’s Marvin White Coliseum on Saturday night, punching their ticket to the Big House.

Brandon (24-7) will face Olive Branch in the Class 6A Semifinal Round at the Mississippi Coliseum at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

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Last year, Brandon fell to Clinton in the semifinal round at the Mississippi Coliseum in a game the Bulldogs led by 12 points late in the fourth quarter.

“We were down four and I told the guys are we going to fold or fight back and we fought back. Marcel Bridges just didn’t give up and when we tied the game Braylon Barnes came up big for us,” said Brandon coach Fred Barnes. “Defense was huge for us at the end especially at the end and it was a overall team win.”

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The game was back and forth with teams trading baskets and the lead.

Terry (22-9) held a slim 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Brandon went on a 7-4 run to take a 20-18, but Terry responded with a 6-1 run to regain the lead at 24-21 and held a slim a 28-27 lead at halftime.

The two teams played to a 34-34 tie midway through the third quarter, but Brandon got back-to-back baskets from Nate White and Isaiah Davis to take a slim 42-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Terry came out hot in the final period and went on a 6-1 run to take a 47-43 lead with 4:33 left in the game. But Brandon closed the game on a 9-0 run, highlighted by Braylon Barnes' three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 50-47 lead with 2:20 left. Brandon then got back-to-back steals from Kendall Pearson and Isaiah Smith.

Pearson sealed the game with a dunk off Smith’s steal with nine seconds left.

“We told the guys the weakness of their game is passing," Fred Barnes said. "So we had to rush the point guard and break on the ball, and that’s exactly what they were told to do. The whole motto for this season is redemption. We didn’t like how last season ended, so we came back this year with the mindset of not letting that to be the lasting image. We wanted to get back to the Big House and finish.”

Bridges scored 19 points to lead Brandon, while Braylon Barnes added 12 points for the Bulldogs.

“Coming into it, we knew we were going on some runs and they were going to go on some runs," Bridges said. "We just needed to put them away. Last time it was a team that couldn’t put away games in tight situations and now we can, and we're headed back to the Big House. Those steals at the end were big, because those guys understand their roles. It’s been a big thing for us all year as a redemption year, cause last year was on us and now it’s on us to finish.”

Trey Smith had 16 points to lead Terry, while Jaden Harper added 10 points for the Bulldogs.

“When you get to this point of the season you expect a hard-fought game, and tonight we turned the ball over a little too much,” said Terry coach Chris Parker. “It seemed like things just bounced their way tonight and you can’t make mistakes like we did in a game Iike this.”