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BA teams smoke Winston; advance to AA semifinals

CANTON

– State tournament jitters didn’t affect the Brookhaven Academybasketball teams Tuesday night. Both the Cougars and Lady Cougarslooked like Class AA title contenders in the opening round, handilydisposing of Winston Academy’s boys and girls.

The Lady Cougars started the night with a 53-26 triumph, led byplaymaker Lauren Smith’s 11 points. The Cougars got a 26-pointperformance from guard Craig Smith and whipped the Patriots 59-31in the Canton Academy gymnasium.

Brookhaven Academy advances to Friday’s semifinals. The LadyCougars (31-3) play the winner of today’s Canton-Marshall Academygame at 2:30. The Cougars (30-3) play Leake Friday at 6 p.m.

In yesterday’s other first round games, Leake’s boys edgedGrenada Kirk 54-50 and the Marvell (Ark.) girls whipped Leake54-39.

In today’s second round, the boys bracket features MagnoliaHeights versus Oak Forest at 5:30 and Marshall vs. Canton at 8:30.In the girls bracket, Magnolia Heights plays Presbyterian ChristianSchool at 4 and Canton meets Marshall at 7.

All eight semifinalists advance to Saturday’s finals. They’llplay either in the consolation or championship games.

The Lady Cougars used their full-court pressureto overwhelm the larger Winston team. The Lady Patriots had 18turnovers in the game and fell behind 26-14 at halftime.

“We had opening jitters but once we settled down, we playedpretty well,” said Brookhaven Academy girls coach Barry Gray. “Ourpress wore (Winston) down and they got tired.”

Smith sacked a pair of treys in the first half and the LadyCougars took a 26-14 halftime lead. Winston worked at taking theball inside to 6-foot senior Katy Rose White who finished with agame-high 15 points.

On the backboards, BA was led by Abby Williams with 7 rebounds.Kelli Byrd followed with 6 boards and 10 points.

The Lady Cougars produced a 14-4 run in the third quarter andWinston (25-6) wilted under the constant defensive pressure,falling behind 40-18. Byrd and Mallory Logan each had 3 steals inthe victory.

The Cougars employed their shooting, passingand ball-handling skills to whip a muscular Winston squad (25-6)which was North State runner-up.

Craig Smith scored 12 of his game-high total in the thirdquarter when the Cougars built a 47-22 advantage. Chase Mageegrabbed 9 rebounds in the paint and Paul Coker had 8.

“We did a good job of finding the open man,” said BrookhavenAcademy boys coach Dale Watts. “Our guys were unselfish.

“I felt like the team that could stay focused would come out thevictor,” Watts pointed out. “Craig Smith had a good night shootingthe ball and Layne Moreton did a good job on (Winston’s Jonathon)Stevens. He had been scoring in the 20s.”

Stevens, a 6-foot senior, was held to 8 points. The Patriots arecoached by Ferrell Rigby.

In the big third quarter, Smith and Jimmy Latham sackedback-to-back treys, igniting a 23-7 run by the Cougars. Mageescored 6 points in the surge and Coker grabbed 4 of hisrebounds.

Watts said Winston tried to shove and elbow the 6-foot-6 Cokerout of the paint. “They tried to test Paul but he still controlledthe boards.”