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MHSAA 7A boys basketball playoffs: Braylon Barnes, Brandon headed back to 'Big House' after win over Harrison Central

Barnes finished with 24 points to lead Brandon to a 62-54 quarterfinal win

PERKINSTON, Miss. — For the second year in a row, Brandon is heading back to the Big House.

Behind the play of Braylon Barnes and Nate White, the Bulldogs held off Harrison Central 62-54 in the Quarterfinal Round of the MHSAA Boys Class 7A Basketball Playoffs at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Dantzler Arena on Saturday night.

MORE: Mississippi Boys Basketball Scoreboard

Brandon (18-11) will face rival Clinton in the Class 7A Semifinals at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

“It was a big effort from our guys, because we knew they (Harrison Central) were an effort team,” said Brandon coach Fred Barnes. “Our guys answered the challenge. We asked a lot of young guys to go out there and make plays, and they made them.”

It was back-and-forth the entire game. Harrison Central ended the first quarter on a 8-2 run to take a slim 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Red Rebels began the second quarter on another 8-2 run to stretch their lead out to 24-16, but from that point Brandon began chipping away at the lead with a pair of three-pointers by Barnes and Rufus Sampson. The two key buckets trimmed Harrison Central's halftime lead to 30-28.

The Bulldogs responded with a 6-1 run to begin the third quarter to take a 34-31 lead and never trailed again. Brandon held a 46-42 lead at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Harrison Central cut the Bulldog lead down to 48-46, but the Bulldogs got a three-pointer from Barnes and a three-point play from Nate White to stretch their lead out to a 54-46 lead.

Barnes sealed the win for Brandon with a three-point play with 15 seconds left to give the Bulldogs the 62-54 lead.

“Real proud of our leaders Nate and Braylon," Fred Barnes said. "They went out and led the way and when we needed to make plays that made them. It took them a while for them to accept the roles of being big shot makers and now here they are making those big buckets in big moments. It was a long road to get to this point and this team is finding a way to win and it’s back in Big House for us and there’s no better feeling. Clinton is going to be tough, but it will be great game.”

Barnes finished with 24 points to lead Brandon, while White added 15 points for the Bulldogs.

“We got down in the first half and I just thought that we weren’t losing this game,” Braylon Barnes said. “We turned it up and broke the press and didn’t turn the ball over and got the job done. Me and Nate got a thing going where we’re not scoring the team not scoring. Everybody doubted us in the beginning and we were the only ones knew that we were going to make it this far and now we get the job done and finish it.”

Aujaylen Barron had 24 points to lead Harrison Central, while Shaun Murray added 11 points for Red Rebels (23-9).

“Tonight just wasn’t our night," said Harrison Central coach Francisco Hardy. "Give Brandon credit — they’re a good team. It was a great game and we missed some opportunities with shots and free throws. We had a super year. We kept grinding and figured somethings out and got hot at the right time and I’m super proud of this team.”