BA boys take state title

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 24, 2003

The host Brookhaven Academy Cougars gave Coach Dale Watts apresent Saturday night he will never forget. In Watt’s nine yearsat Brookhaven, he had never won a state championship.

Last night before a packed house, Watts’ Cougars whipped theLeake Academy Rebels 92-61 in the finals of the MPSA State AAChampionship Tournament at John R. Gray Gymnasium.

“I thank the Good Lord,” said Watts following the win. “He hasblessed me and these boys tremendously.”

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In the consolation game, Prairie View held off PresbyterianChristian for 67-64 victory in the final seconds.

All four teams advance to the Overall State Tournament this weekat Mississippi College in Clinton.

Watts won one State title at Parklane and two Overalls beforecoming to Brookhaven.

Brookhaven senior forward Craig Smith was the leading scorer forthe night while playing with an injured ankle and right knee. Smithfinished the game with 24 points, five rebounds and sixassists.

“It feels great,” smiled Smith after the game. “We whipped themfor good.”

When asked about his injures, Smith replied, “Once the gamestarted, my knee was fine.”

Another big factor in the game was senior post player Alan Osterwho recorded nine points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

“It’s great,” beamed Oster. “We decided we were gonna come outand play. We had to play real well. I was pretty strong on therebounds, on both sides. We played real good tonight and allweek.”

Brookhaven (31-1) led Leake (31-7) 22-14 at the end of the firstquarter and pushed its lead to 16 points, 44-28, at the half.

The Rebels came out aggressive in the third quarter and startedchipping away the Cougars lead. Brookhaven’s lead was down to 10points, 54-44 with 2:07 left in the quarter. Senior Jimmy Lathamhit a field goal and a free throw for a 57-44 lead. Smith converteda three-point play, followed by two free throws and senior LayneMoreton launched a trey at the buzzer which gave the Cougars a65-48 lead going in to the final frame.

“We played a good first half,” stated Watts. “In the secondhalf, the guys got tentative. They (Leake) came out aggressive.Leake really took it to us.”

Oster started the fourth quarter with a putback and Cole Hodgesfollowed with a layup for a 69-48 lead and Brookhaven never lookedback.

Other Cougars in double figures were Latham with 15 points,Hodges with 14 points, Moreton with 12 points and junior JonathanWinborne with 10 points. Cole Smith pulled down four rebounds. AlexDavis, who fouled out with 4:42 left in the third quarter, had twopoints, three steals and four assists.

“I am extremely proud of this year,” added Watts. “They haveworked hard. They are blessed.”

Leake, coached by Phil Smith, was led by Allen Byrd with 13points. Daniel Jones and Brett Moore followed with 10 pointsapiece.

Prairie View 67, Presb. Christian 64

Powering Prairie View with 26 points was Boo Waller. PaulFaulkenberry finished with 14 points.

Presbyterian Christian got 19 points from Ben Morgan and 12points from David Newman.