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Fitzsimmons sets pace on boys team

Either driving the lane, shooting a running jumper or sacking along bomb from 3-point range, Brookhaven senior guard MattFitzsimmons has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor.Fitzsimmons also possesses the intense, competitive instincts whichcan snatch victory from defeat.

During his final season at BHS, the 6-foot Fitzsimmons averaged14 points, four rebounds and four assists per game, helping leadthe Panthers to a 25-9 record. For his performance, Fitzsimmons hasbeen selected The Daily Leader’s Player of the Year on the 2000-01All-Lincoln County Boys Basketball Team.

Fitzsimmons, recognized as Mister Basketball in Lincoln County,is joined on the dream team by Turner Havard of Brookhaven Academy,Corey Bryant of Brookhaven, Jamie Sisco of West Lincoln and BradBritt of Loyd Star. Input for the team was provided by high schooland college coaches.

Playing on a balanced team, Fitzsimmons wasn’t required to postbig numbers every game. His high game was 21 points and it came ina dramatic comeback victory over Lawrence County in overtime. Hescored 17 points in the fourth quarter, refusing to let the Cougarsescape Sinclair Gymnasium with a victory.

“Matt really stepped it up in big games,” said BHS head boyscoach Preston Wilson. “He has tremendously improved from his juniorto senior year. He has a great shooting range, too.”

Asked about season highlights, Fitzsimmons said he enjoyed theBank One Classic Christmas Tournament played in Lake Charles, La.The Panthers finished third. On Brookhaven’s failure to make it outof the Division 6-4A Tournament, he said, “We had a lot of injuriesat the end of the season. We should have done better.”

Last summer Fitzsimmons participated in several basketballcamps. His favorite was the Five Star Camp in Holmesville, Pa. “Wewere about one hour away from New York. It was a lot of fun.”

Looking to the future, Fitzsimmons said he plans to sign ascholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He will joinformer BHS teammate Tony Thompson on the Co-Lin squad.

Corey Bryant played center for the Panthers. He led the team inrebounding and scoring. He has been selected to play in thissummer’s Coca-Cola High School All-Star Game.

Brad Britt, a standout quarterback on Loyd Star’s football team,also ran the basketball show as the Hornets finished 11-15 in arebuilding year. A broken bone in his foot slowed Britt’sperformance much of the season.

Turner Havard was the go-to player in Brookhaven Academy’soffense. He led the Cougars in scoring and rebounding as theyfinished 28-9 under Dale Watts, The Daily Leader’s Coach of theYear. They won the District 4-AA Tournament and were runners-up inSouth State.

Jamie Sisco moved to point guard as a senior and led the WestLincoln Bears in scoring. They finished 22-9 and were Division 7-1ATournament runners-up. They finished fourth in the South State 1ATournament.

Honorable Mention With Distinction

Bogue Chitto: Tradell Black, Marc Howard, Carlos Brown.

Brookhaven: Fred Mackabee, Maurice Brown, Dontae Dixon.

Brookhaven Academy: Jake Sessums, Paul Coker, Ben Davis.

Enterprise: Rufus Allen, Shermaine Vaughn, Pierre Harthorne.

Loyd Star: Demarcus Barnes, Seth Britt.

West Lincoln: Carlos Johnson, Cody Mitchell, Luke Lofton.