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Golf balls fill the Lincoln Co. air

Golf balls will fill the Lincoln County air next week. Thosesmall, white flying objects will be most densely concentrated atthe Brookhaven Country Club and the Wolf Hollow Golf Club onCopiah-Lincoln Community College’s Wesson campus.

Brookhaven High is hosting the Class 4A State Tournament Mondayand Tuesday, May 5-6. Loyd Star hosts the Class 2A StateTournament, May 6-7, for the third consecutive year.

Thirty-two golf teams, 16 in each tournament, will converge onthis area. “Welcome State Tournament Golfers,” would be anappropriate proclamation for the City of Brookhaven plus the motelsand eating establishments on Brookway Boulevard. The giant,welcoming banner could be attached to the roof of the new StudentCenter located on the Mississippi School of the Arts campus andhang vertically from the eighth floor.

You know, golf has been considered an art form by many devoteesof the ancient sport. You have to love golf to appreciate therhythm of the swing. There’s plenty of landscape beauty which goeshand-in-hand with an outstanding golf course.

According to BHS golf coach Ryan Ross, theschool made a bid for the state tournament when BCC general managerand PGA pro Ronny Ross accepted the idea ofhosting the event. It certainly helps to have an older brother whois keenly interested in promoting Brookhaven and the BCC.

The Class 4A format will feature a practice round on Sunday.Eighteen holes will be played on Monday and Tuesday. Brookhavenqualified for the state tournament by placing second to Terry inthe division tourney at the Brookwood Country Club in Byram.

Ryan Ross has been a busy young man this spring. He recently washired as offensive coordinator at Southwest Mississippi CommunityCollege in Summit. A 1990 BHS graduate, Ross held a similarposition at BHS and McComb, each for one year.

Ross said his dream is to coach on the college level so now hehas his foot in the door. The Southwest versus Co-Lin rivalry hasheated up in recent years. Now, with the new recruiting rules inplace, it’s not unusual to cross county and district lines inpursuit of quality athletes.

In February, West Lincoln running back StacyFells became the first college football signee in historyfrom West Lincoln’s 5-year-old program. Fells, recognized as TheDAILY LEADER’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year on the 2002All-Lincoln County Football Team, signed with Southwest.

If you are keeping score, the other co-offensive player,Jerard Vaughn of Enterprise, signed with Co-Lin.So look forward to the Bears versus Wolves this fall.

Back to golf, Loyd Star is aiming for a second straight Class 2AState Tournament title next week. Being the defending champion putsmore pressure on the Hornets but they have the talent to bring homethe trophy again.

Ricky Myers launched the golf program a fewyears ago and the Hornets have made giant strides. They won thestate title last year with just one senior on the squad inTrent Maddox. Certainly, the team is young andhungry for a repeat. Jody Britt is the only senioron this year’s team.

It will be the Picayune Maroon Tide powerhouse versus theLawrence County Cinderella Cougars tonight at Monticello in theSouth State 4A baseball finals. The opening game of thebest-of-three series kicks off at 6:30 p.m., at Jimmie DavisPark.

Picayune (23-3), coached by Kent Kirkland, isthe South juggernaut, led by Mississippi State signeeJustin Pigott, a southpaw pitcher. Picayune is thedefending state champion.

Lawrence County (22-12), under the direction of ChrisClark, is the dark horse, appropriately wearing blackjerseys. The Cougars were runners-up to Brookhaven in the Division6-4A race but they have won a pair of dramatic best-of-three Southplayoff series over East Central and Laurel.

Remarkably, the Cougars, a.k.a. Cardiac Cats, have come frombehind to win five of those six playoff games. Deficits don’t fazethem. They have ice water in their veins and they play the gamethey love with a passion.

Centerfielder Michael Thompson is swinging abig bat for the Cougars. On the mound, Casey Williams,Klein Harbour and Luke Watts have pickedup key victories in the playoffs.

This is Clark’s third year at the helm and the community isfired up for their baseball team. This is the deepest the Cougarshave ever gone in the playoffs in the 16-year history of theconsolidated school. There hasn’t been this much enthusiasm inLawrence County since the Cougars won the 4A state footballchampionship in 1999.

The Cougars are young, too, with just two seniors on the squadin shortstop David Gilbert and first basemanCory Rogers.