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BA teams play Wed. in State AA tourney

/The Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars face Marvell, Ark., andCougars meet First Assembly of Memphis, Tenn., Wednesday night inthe first round of the Mississippi Private School Association’sState AA Tournament at Grenada Kirk Academy.

/ The 37-1 Brookhaven Academy girls, coached by Barry Gray, arethe No. 1 seeds out of the South. Marvell, Ark., (26-6) comes intothe tournament as the No. 4 team out of the North. Game time is 7p.m. Marvell’s team was scheduled to play in the BA HolidayTournament in late December but had to cancel because they wereiced in and could not make the trip.

/ Coach Dale Watts and his Cougars (28-7) are the No. 2 Southseeds and tangle with North No. 3 First Assembly at 8:30.

/ Other teams playing Wednesday include the North No. 1Cruger-Tchula girls vs. South No. 4 Simpson County at 4 and theSouth No. 1 Simpson boys vs. North No. 4 Winston Academy at5:30.

/ In tonight’s girls games, North No. 3 Magnolia Heights meetsSouth No. 2 Canton Academy at 4 and South No. 3 Leake face NorthNo. 2 Kirk at 7. Boys action includes South No. 3 Canton battlingNorth No. 2 Kirk at 5:30 and and North No. 1 Marshall tangling withSouth No. 4 East Rankin at 8:30.

/ “They (Marvell) are an excellent team,” said Coach Gray. “Fiveof their six losses were by three points or less.”

/ Marvell brings with them one of the top post players in ClassAA in Robin Chastain. “She is a 6-foot post player and she canshoot the three pointer.”

/ Gray said that Elaine Story, a 5-foot-7 guard, averages about15 points per game for Marvell and is a threat.

/ “They are well coached,” Gray said. “They play half-court.They are the toughest first-round team in the tournament.

/ “They are capable. We’ll have to play better than average tobeat them,” added Gray.

/ Gray mentioned powerhouse Cruger-Tchula (34-3). “They’rebeating people up in the North. They are fast. They are the onlyteam we didn’t try to press last year.”

/ There are three factors that concern Gray concerning thetournament. One, the long three-hour drive. Second, the placementof the benches at the end of the court. Third, the officiating willbe tighter.

/ “It boils down to what team can play consistent for threenights,” added Gray. “There are six good teams. Three will advanceand three will go home.”

/ Gray’s girls beat Cruger-Tchula in last year’s state titlegame.

/ Coach Watts is preparing his Cougars for a talented FirstAssembly team. “They have two real good players,” said Watts.”Their post player (Ready) is 6-foot and the other isMooneyham.”

/ In their last game, Ready and Mooneyham combined for 51points.

/ “They like to run the ball and shoot,” Watts stated. “Theyshot 41 three-pointers in one game this year. That is going toextend our defense.

/ “They have five other guys that play the other spots. They aregood ball handlers.”

/ Watts said his team’s opponent “runs the floor real well. Theydon’t pass the ball a lot. They like to shoot.

/ “The biggest thing we have to do is we have to back up andrefocus on our own game,” stressed Watts. “We have to prepareourselves.”

/ Watts saw his team lose to Simpson Academy in the South StateAA title game. “I think we are going to be okay. This is the timeof year you look forward to. I feel that there is not that muchpressure. The guys are focused. We can feel good.”

/ There are two ways to play according to Watts. “When you playnot to lose and when you play to win. We’ve been playing not tolose (referring to last week’s tournament). It’s nobody’s fault,You’re expected to win. Now we can let our hair down and get afterit.”

/ Watts said Simpson, which beat Brookhaven for the South StateAA title, and Marshall are the two teams to beat. He added thatCanton has as good a chance as Kirk does being the home team.Canton faces Kirk tonight.

/ “Us, First Assembly, Canton and Kirk are the tossup games,”added Watts.