Coker, Myers make string music for MPSA All-Star Games

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Ancy Myers and Paul Coker were instrumental in BrookhavenAcademy’s march to the Class AA state basketball tournament. Theyprovided senior leadership and lots of points, helping the Cougarsand Lady Cougars realize another outstanding campaign.

They’ll both make string music one more time when they representtheir school in Friday’s MPSA Class A-AA All-Star Basketball Gamesat Mississippi College. The girls game tips off at 2 p.m., in A.E.Wood Coliseum, followed by the boys at 3:30.

Myers, a 5-foot-8 forward, led the Lady Cougars to a 34-4 recordand their third Class AA state title in four years. She averaged13.6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists per game.

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Brookhaven Academy girls coach Barry Gray said Myers has madedramatic improvement since last year. “Ancy went from a non-starterto a dominant player in just one year.

“She rated the highest on our scale most of the season,” Graycontinued. “She was the most consistent player after the secondweek of the season. She’s one of the sweetest people in our schoolShe’s a real strong Christian witness.”

It was Myers who provided the second-half spark which lifted theLady Cougars to a state title game victory over Marvell, Ark. Sheaccounted for 23 points and 16 rebounds in the 54-40 triumph.

The Lady Cougars graduated five starters from the previousseason’s state tournament runner-up squad and it was expected to bea massive rebuilding year. They surprised fans and opponents.

“I thought we might win district and make the first round ofSouth state but we showed everybody,” said Myers. “Our team wasmore spiritually together. We had to come together as a team.”

It was a rewarding season and Myers is looking forward to theall-star game. One of the North players she’ll face is RobinChastain, a Delta State signee from Marvell.

Asked about the strongest opponent this season, Myers said,”Copiah was real strong talent-wise. I know Canton was fierce-wise.Canton has been out to get us for years.”

The Lady Cougars eked out a 4-point margin of victory overCanton in the Class AA semifinals. Brookhaven finished its seasonin the Overall Tournament at MC, losing to eventual runner-upGreenwood Pillow 40-29 in the quarterfinals.

Looking to the future, Myers said she plans to attendCopiah-Lincoln Community College. She wants to continue dancing forShowstoppers and eventually transfer to the University of Alabamawhere she plans to join the schools’ dance team. Naturally, sheplans to major in dance and possibly minor in nursing.

Myers, the daughter of Gary and Cheryl Myers, said she hasenjoyed playing for Coach Gray. “Our team calls him our dad. Heincorporates God in everything he does. He really knows the game ofbasketball.”

Coker (6-6, 185), a is a 3-sport star, starting at wide receiverand outside linebacker in football and working as a pitcher inbaseball. Basketball is his first love and he wanted that sport tobe his priority.

As a senior Coker averaged 16.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.6blocks per game. He was a dominant post player for the Cougars andthe primary target of opposing defenses.

Coker said football helped him become a better basketballplayer. “Football helped me a lot. It made me stronger and moredurable. It gave me a tougher mind-set.”

Since junior high Coker has played for Brookhaven Academy boyscoach Dale Watts. He admits having some difficult moments adjustingto Watts and his demanding, disciplined style of basketball.

“We have had some scuffles but everything worked out for thebest,” said Coker. “I’ve learned a lot of basketball from him.”

Coker said Watts is a strong Christian. “He brings the devotionbefore games and he talks about it during the games and athalftime.”

Looking to the future, Coker said he wants to play collegebasketball, either at Co-Lin or Mississippi College. The Cougarsfinished 32-5 this season, winning the State AA consolation gameand reaching the quarterfinals of Overall State.

Coker, the son of Gordon and Betsy Coker, said beating ClassAAAA Hillcrest Christian this season was a highlight for him.”Hillcrest is a big rivalry for us. Parklane is a big rival,too.”

Asked who he considered the best player he played against thisseason, Coker singled out guard Randall Gulina of Central Private,a Samford (Ala.) University signee. “He’s probably the best playerin the MPSA. We’ve become pretty good friends over the years.”

The all-star game will give Coker an opportunity to play withand against some of the best players in the MPSA. “I’m lookingforward to playing with Caleb Williamson of Prentiss ChristianSchool. He’s a good player.”

Coach Watts said Coker has the potential to become anoutstanding college player. “Paul is the most talented basketballplayer I’ve coached. He can run and he can jump. He has a lot ofagility and quickness for the sport. It’s a natural for him.”