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Pillow defense smothers BA girls

CLINTON – Pillow Academy produced a suffocating defenseWednesday night and defeated the Brookhaven Academy girls 40-29 inthe MPSA Overall State Tournament at Mississippi College. The LadyMustangs limited Brookhaven to 38 percent field goal shooting andkept the Lady Cougars scoreless from 3-point range.

Pillow (32-6), the No. 3 team out of Class AAAA, advances toFriday’s semifinals where the Lady Mustangs meet Class AAAAchampion Jackson Prep (26-11) at 1:30 in A.E. Wood Coliseum.Jackson Academy, a 67-38 winner over Delta Academy yesterday, playsRiverdale (La.) in the other girls semifinals game.

The Lady Cougars (34-4), complete a major rebuilding season withthe Class AA state title, their third in four years, safely tuckedaway.

Brookhaven Academy coach Barry Gray said Pillow’s superiorstrength and height overwhelmed his young squad. “We don’t see thatkind of strength and depth during the year. They had muscle at thelow post.”

Gray was referring to post players Kate Flanagan and LacyBarger. Flanagan, a strong 5-11 senior, led the Lady Mustangs with14 points and 8 rebounds. Barger,a 5-10 junior, added 8 points and6 rebounds.

“I was proud of our girls,” said Gray. “We gave a great effortand played with intensity. We had a great season.”

The Lady Cougars got 8 points and 3 rebounds from junior postAnna Gatlin. Senior forward Ancy Myers, the team’s leading scorer,was limited to 6 points and 5 rebounds by Pillow’s smotheringdefense.

Pillow, based in Greenwood, seeking a sixth Overall title andits first since 1998, played a patient power game. The LadyMustangs outrebounded Brookhaven 23-18 and caused 14 turnovers.

Coach Durwin Carpenter, in his 8th year at the helm of Pillow’sbasketball program, wanted his team to apply heavy defensivepressure on the Lady Cougars.

“We felt like we could put pressure on them and wear them down,”said Carpenter. “They didn’t have that defensive intensity the lasthalf.

“Brookhaven has an outstanding team,” Carpenter continued. “Theyare very young and they should come back here a good manyyears.”

The Lady Cougars, with two freshmen, guards Lauren Smith andKelli Byrd in the starting lineup, trailed 19-17 at halftime. Theyhad taken an early 4-0 lead on a layup by Byrd and a short jumperby Myers.

In the third quarter, Pillow began taking control of the game. Ashort jumper and a 16-footer by Barger pushed Pillow’s lead to 5points, 28-23, with 1:46 left in the third stanza.

With 7:21 left in the game, Pillow led by 9 points, 32-23, on afield goal from the paint by 5-10 sophomore Stribling Whites.

Carpenter sent his team into a delay game and they shot 17 freethrows in the last 5:44 of the contest, making 8 of them.

Byrd contributed 3 steals in the game. Smith had 2 steals and 2assists.

@Bbstandings:Pillow Academy 40, Brookhaven Academy29

Pillow (40) Kate Flanagan 14, Nelson 3, Barger 8,Coleman 5, Whites 2, Calhoun 8.

Brookhaven (29) Anna Gatlin 8, Byrd 4, Smith 6, Altman1, Myers 6, A. Davis 4.

Total fouls: Brookhaven 17. Pillow 16. Fouled out-L.Davis.

Free Throws M-A: Pillow 11-21. Brookhaven9-17.

3-point goals: Nelson.

Pillow Academy

8

11

11

10 – 40

Brookhaven Acad.

6

11

6

6 -29