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BA boys bow in 3 OTs

CLINTON – Brookhaven Academy boys head coach Dale Watts made aspecial request to his team before Wednesday night’s game withHillcrest Christian. “I told our guys I had one request, ‘When wecome back in after the game, make sure you left it all on thefloor.'”

Watts and the Cougars produced an outstanding effort last nightin the quarterfinals of the MPSA Overall Tournament but they weresaddled with a 73-69 triple-overtime loss to Hillcrest Christian inan epic struggle. Drew Delaughter hit 2 short jumpers and WalkerMoeller sacked 3 free throws in the third 4-minute extra session,lifting Hillcrest to victory before an estimated crowd of2,400.

Hillcrest (26-9), the No. 3 team out of the Class AAA statetournament, advances to Friday’s semifinals in A.E. Wood Coliseumand faces Natchez Trinity at 6 p.m. Jackson Prep will play DeltaAcademy in the other semifinals boys game.

“Every one of our kids stepped up and played hard,” said Watts.The Cougars, fresh from winning the State AA title, finish32-2.

Brookhaven’s last overtime victory in the Overall had come in1989 when the Cougars beat Madison-Ridgeland Academy 84-77 in thefinals.

Watts said he usually didn’t blame the officiating for theoutcome of a game but last night’s showdown featured threeofficials from the Jackson area. “We were in overtime before we gotthe 1-and-1 bonus,” at the free throw line. “Hillcrest was in thedouble bonus,” at the 3:15 mark of the first overtime. Brookhavendidn’t get the 1-and-1 until the second overtime.

At the free throw line, Hillcrest made 21 of 27 shots comparedto Brookhaven’s 14 of 18.

Hillcrest coach Penn Majors said the game was an intense battle.”Both teams deserved to win. It’s a shame somebody had to lose.

“Give credit to my kids,” Majors added. “I was worried about mykids being a little flat because we had played (Tuesday) lastnight.”

In a tight, see-saw battle, Brookhaven and Hillcrest battled toa 56-56 deadlock at the end of regulation. A baseline drive by ColeHodges gave BA a 56-56 tie with 1:38 left to play. Moeller missed apair of free throws with 1:19 showing. Brookhaven ran the clockdown for the final shot and guard Layne Moreton missed a 20-footeras the buzzer sounded.

In the first overtime, guard Craig Smith sacked a pair ofjumpers on his way to 35 points for Brookhaven. Moeller, whofinished with 29, hit 4 free throws but missed a jumper from 16feet as time expired, ending the first 4-minute session at60-60.

In the second overtime, Smith was fouled with 32 seconds left onan attempted trey from the corner. He hit 3 straight,pressure-packed free throws to gain a 66-66 knot. Hillcrest’s ChrisPosey finished with 24 points but missed a winner in the fadingseconds.

In the third overtime, Brookhaven turned the ball over twice andJimmy Latham fouled out. Hillcrest took the lead at 68-66 onDelaughter’s short jumper and never trailed. Hillcrest led 72-67when Moeller hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left toplay. Moeller nailed 4 treys in the game.

Brookhaven got 12 points and 10 rebounds from center Alan Oster.Alex Davis had 5 rebounds and Cole Hodges 4. Smith had 3 assists.Latham had 3 steals and 2 assists.

“I told our kids that the Good Lord has a plan,” said Watts.”There may be some time in their life when a loss like this canhelp them overcome a difficult situation.”