Four Brookhaven Academy players in all-star games

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 2, 2001

Brookhaven Academy enjoyed a banner basketball campaign and fourof its players are being rewarded for their efforts. Lady CougarsKatie Newman, Lindsay Altman and Amy Smith and Cougar Turner Havardwill participate in Saturday’s Class A-AA All-Star Games atMississippi College in Clinton. Barry Gray of Brookhaven Academywill help coach the South girls game in A.E. Wood Coliseum.

The A-AA girls game tips off at 1 p.m. tomorrow, followed by theA-AA boys at 2:30. The AAA-AAAA games will be played later in theday.

All-star games are nothing new for Coach Gray. This is his fifthclassic to coach. Gray, 38, has coached girls and boys all-starteams.

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Asked about his all-star experience, Gray said, “The key isputting the right people together. You install a little offensewith each group. Then you just turn them loose.”

Gray said he was taking a more relaxed approach to coaching thanduring the playoffs. Melanie Hall of Natchez Trinity will be thedesignated head coach for the game.

“Our girls will see the other side of me this week in practice,”said Gray. “We want to make this a fun experience.

“Our girls are used to man-to-man (defense) and an up-tempostyle of offense. They are all good defenders and they all canscore. These girls have worked hard and deserve some time in thesun.”

Katie Newman, a 5-foot-5 senior, has been in BA’s startinglineup since the eighth grade. She worked primarily as a playmakerthis season, averaging 10.1 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 steals pergame.

Newman helped the Lady Cougars win back-to-back Class AA StateTournament titles. They finished 40-3 this season, losing in thestate finals to Cruger-Tchula.

In the Overall Tournament last week, they beat Jackson Prep inovertime in the first round but lost to overall finalist DeltaAcademy in the quarterfinals.

Winning the state title and the overall crown were the No. 1goals for the Lady Cougars and they were disappointed by thesetbacks. “It was a learning experience for us,” said Newman. “Godhad a different plan for us.”

She plans to attend either Ole Miss or Mississippi College nextseason and she wants to play basketball. Newman plans to major inpremed.

Asked about the all-star game, Newman smiled and boldlypredicted a South victory. “I think the South will win by 10points. It will be a high-scoring game. I’ll be a distributor tothe shooters.”

Newman’s ball-handling skills were a key to BA’s success thisyear. “I’ve always been a shooter and a scorer but I wanted to makemore assists and get the ball to my teammates this season.”

Lindsay Altman, a 5-10 post player, has designs on a collegebasketball career, too. She is leaning towards signing withCopiah-Lincoln Community College. As a senior she was the go-toplayer in Brookhaven’s offense, averaging 13.9 points and 8.2rebounds per game.

“We all wanted to win,” said Altman. “Nobody argued on our teamand we were all good friends.”

Altman said Jackson Prep was the strongest opponent the LadyCougars played this year. Prep won the first encounter in theMadison-Ridgeland Academy tournament last December but BA prevailedin the Overall.

“Jackson Prep was the most athletic team we faced,” said Altman.”They were strong.”

Amy Smith, a 5-7 shooting guard, was the team’s most accurateshooter from 3-point range. She averaged 12.3 points, 3.1 assistsand 2.3 steals per game. Like Altman, she wants to play basketballat Co-Lin.

“I’m real excited about the all-star game,” said Smith. “It willbe good to have two of my friends on the same team with me. We havebeen together for six years.”

Smith said she plans to pursue a career in nursing atCo-Lin.

Turner Havard, a 6-5 center/forward, was a key to the Cougars'(29-9) success. He averaged 16.5 points and 5 rebounds per game asthe Cougars won the District 4-AA Tournament, finished runners-upto Simpson Academy in South State and lost to Marshall in the statesemifinals.

“I want to have a good time at the all-star game,” said Havard.He is being recruited by Co-Lin.

Havard said Jackson Academy and Central Private, were thestrongest teams the Cougars faced this season. Central Privatefinished runner-up to Hillcrest Christian in the OverallTournament. He said the best player he played against was juniorguard Randall Gulina of Central Private because “he has experienceand the ability to think.”

Havard has played for BA boys coach Dale Watts since the seventhgrade and has grown accustomed to the strict work ethic anddisciplined style of play preached by the veteran mentor. “I’veenjoyed playing for Coach Watts.”

Coaching the South A-AA boys are Roger Stockton of River Oaks,Clayton Vance of University Christian and Bobby Prince ofSimpson.

Weighing 165 pounds, Havard expects to grow stronger in college.Watts said, “Turner has the size and body frame to really excel inbasketball. His work ethic is second to none. He’s a sincere kidwith God-given talent.”

All-Star notes: Tomorrow’s games will feature 10-minute quartersand six personal fouls per player, giving each all-star additionalplaying time. Last year Brookhaven Academy was represented by ChadSmith and Kristi Moak.