Altman, Lady Cougars overpower East Rankin

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Center Lindsay Altman and the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougarscleared their first hurdle Tuesday in the South State AATournament. Altman worked in the paint for 24 points and 9rebounds, leading the hosts to a 78-47 trouncing of the East RankinAcademy Lady Patriots.

Brookhaven Academy (35-1) advances to Friday’s semifinals andplays the winner of the Simpson County-Oak Forest game at 2:30. Inthe 1 p.m. semifinals game, Leake Academy plays the winner ofThursday’s Canton Academy-Wilkinson Academy game.

Win or lose, all four semifinalists advance to Saturday’sfinals. Girls consolation is at 1 p.m., and the championship is at2:30.

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The State AA Tournament is next week at Grenada Kirk Academy. Itwill include the top four teams from the South and Northtournaments.

For Coach Barry Gray’s Lady Cougars, their only concernyesterday was the condition of senior point guard Katie Newman’sright ankle. Newman crumpled to the floor after making a shortjumper and 2:44 left in the first half.

A hush fell over the crowd as Gray and medical trainer BradMartin administered aid to Newman. She was helped to her feet andreceived a standing ovation from the crowd. She sat on thesidelines for the rest of the game with an ice pack on her rightankle.

“I’m pretty optimistic Katie will be ready for Friday,” saidGray. Newman has been a 5-year starter at guard. She was walking onthe ankle after the game.

“I was pretty well pleased with the way our girls played,” Graycontinued. “Once we adjusted to East Rankin, we did okay. They ranbackcuts and lob passes on us.”

Gray said Altman elevated her game for the playoffs. “Lindsay isstepping up her game. She’s an athlete.”

Altman said she was concerned when Newman injured her ankle. “Iwas real scared. I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ I wanted us to staytogether.”

Altman and her five senior teammates have won two straight statechampionships. They are aiming for a threepeat. “We can’t overlookanybody. We have to focus on every game.”

A 5-foot-10 senior, Altman accounted for 9 rebounds as the LadyCougars took a 42-23 halftime lead. Senior guard Amy Smith moved tothe point after Newman went down. She scored 15 points, grabbed 6rebounds and made 5 steals.

Senior forward Lindsey Phillips chipped in 13 points and 5rebounds. Sophomore post Anna L. Gatlin had 6 rebounds. Seniorguard Anna K. Gatlin made 4 assists.

The Lady Cougars collected 30 rebounds and had 9 turnovers.

East Rankin (11-16), coached by Billy Rhodes, is the No. 4 teamout of the District 3-AA Tournament. The Lady Patriots got 16points from guard Leslie Robinson. Center Sarah Cook had 7rebounds.

The Lady Cougars went on a 17-8 run in the third quarter,sparked by Altman and Phillips. They led by 37 points, 60-23, on aturnaround jumper by Altman.