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BA girls ambush Copiah

Brookhaven Academy’s Lady Cougars played inspired defenseSaturday night, launched a major rally and upset the Copiah AcademyLady Colonels 40-36 in the championship finals of the HolidayClassic. The Lady Cougars (15-1) erased an 8-point halftime deficitand handed Copiah its first loss in 21 games, powered by seniorforward Ancy Myers who scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds injam-packed John R. Gray Gymnasium.

Brookhaven Academy coach Barry Gray encouraged his young squadat halftime and they responded. Trailing 23-15 at halftime, theLady Cougars picked up the tempo with their half-court defense.

“We dug in there and took angles on our half-court defense saidGray. “We helped each other out on defense. We can guard a goodteam.”

Gray said the defensive pressure began to wear on Copiah in thefourth quarter. “We beat a very good Copiah team and I think theyshould be a shoo-in for the Class AAA title. They got a little legweary late in the fourth. Their shots were falling short.”

To his team’s credit, Gray’s girls only had 12 turnovers againstthe cat-quick Lady Colonel guards. His whiz kittens were inspiredby a partisan crowd and they overcame near-disastrous free throwshooting, making just 1 of 11 shots in the last minute of thegame.

By then the Lady Cougars had pulled ahead 39-34 on a free throwby freshman point guard Kelli Byrd and one minute left to play.Byrd’s driving layup 18 seconds earlier had given the hosts a 38-34lead.

Myers scored 3 field goals in the fourth quarter. Her 15-footjumper gave BA a 34-32 lead with 2:43 left to play. She followedwith a field goal off the glass which made it 36-34 after Copiah’sMadeline Price hit a 10-footer to tie the score 34-all. Myers alsoaccounted for 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Price led Copiah with 10 points. The Lady Colonels had led 16-6at the end of the first quarter and 27-23 entering the fourthquarter.

Abby Williams provided some instant offense for the Lady Cougarsin the fourth quarter. She sacked back-to-back baseline layups, thesecond giving BA its first lead at 32-30 with 3:48 remaining in thegame.

Copiah gained a brief 32-32 knot on a short jumper by pointguard Candace Clayton and 3:03 remaining. She fouled out with 21seconds left to play. Teammate Bethany Harris bowed out with 30seconds remaining.

Copiah coach Mitch Mitchell praised the Lady Cougars for theireffort, especially on defense. “They outplayed us and we didn’texecute on offense. They played real well the second half.

“I hope this (loss) will make us a better team.”

Junior center Anna Gatlin collected 9 rebounds and 7 points inthe victory, fouling out with 9 seconds left. The Lady Cougars madejust 7 of 22 field goal attempts in the first half but theyregrouped and netted 10 of 15 in the final two quarters. They were6 of 18 from the charity line.

@Bbstandings:Brookhaven Academy 40, Copiah Academy36

Copiah (36) Madeline Price 10, Can. Clayton 7, Car.Clayton 2, Duke 2, Harris 7.

Brookhaven (40) Ancy Myers 10, Gatlin 7, Williams 5,Byrd 8, A. Davis 4, L. Davis 2, Smith 4.

Total fouls: Copiah 20. Brookhaven 15. Fouledout-Harris, Can. Clayton, Gatlin.

Free Throws M-A: Copiah 6-13. Brookhaven6-18.

3-point goals: Can. Clayton, Price.

Copiah Academy

16

7

4

9 – 36

Brookhaven Acad.

6

9

8

17 – 40