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BA boys eliminate Magnolia Heights; claim consolation

CANTON – Brookhaven Academy boys’ basketball coah Dale Wattsknew that his Cougars were capable of making it to the OverallState Tournament. “We emphasized to our boys that if they wontonigh,t then we were facing a whole new season next week,” saidWatts.

The Cougars (30-4) stepped up to the challenge in the AA StateTournament consolation game. Led by senior center Paul Coker’s25-point performance the Cougars smashed Magnolia Heights Academy68-40 Saturday night in Canton Academy’s gymnasium.

Possibly still thinking aboutFriday night’s semifinal loss toLeake, Brookhaven looked uninspired in the first half of the game.Magnolia Heights, losers of a close game to Marshall in the othersemifinal, trailed throughout the first half.

Brookhaven held a slim 14-9 margin at the end of the firstquarter and a 24-22 lead at the half.

In the second half Brookhaven came out and played a totallydifferent half of basketball. BA turned up the pressure on defense,which led to more production on the offensive end. BA held theChiefs of Magnolia Heights to a measly four points in the thirdquarter.

After Coker cashed in on a short jumper at the end of the thirdquarter the BA lead was pushed to eight points, 38-26. The Cougarswould cruise in the final period, outscoring MHA 30-14, as theyroared to the 28-point win.

Coker finished the night with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4blocked shots. Craig Smith added 11 points. Chase Magee netted 8points and pulled down 6 boards.

Sanders Bohlke led MHA with 15 points. BA advances to thisweek’s MPSA Academy Overall State Tournament at A.E. Woods Coliseumon the Campus of Mississippi College.