BA girls claim South AA crown

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

MENDENHALL — Credit the Simpson County Lady Cougars for makinga game of it Saturday afternoon. They were hosting the championshipgame of the South State AA Tournament against the No. 1 team in theMPSA, the undefeated Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars.

The blue-and-white clad Brookhaven Lady Cougars had too muchfire power for their red-dressed rivals and posted a 45-35 win tocapture their sixth straight South AA title before an enthusiastic,packed house.

The win improved Brookhaven’s undefeated record to 37-0 on theseason. All four teams in Saturday’s games advance to the State AATournament this week at Canton Academy. The Brookhaven girls go inas No. 1 out of the South.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Simpson, coached by Amy McWilliams, fell to 23-9 with theloss.

Three BA girls were named to the South AA All-State Tournamentteam. They were junior guard Kelli Byrd, junior forward KristianDavidson and senior center Jessie Altman.

In the consolation girls game, Presbyterian Christian dumpedCentral Hinds 49-32.

“Simpson is one of the top teams in the state,” said BA girlscoach Barry Gray after the win. “I was very disappointed with ourfree throw shooting. Our free throw shooting is hurting us rightnow.”

In Saturday’s game, Brookhaven was 14 of 26 from the charityline. Friday, the Lady Cougars were 7-14.

Friday’s semifinals saw Brookhaven whip Central Hinds 41-21 andSimpson crush Presbyterian Christian 42-21.

Brookhaven came into the fourth quarter up by nine points,30-21. Simpson cut the deficit to six points several times butBrookhaven came back with the big play and pushed their lead backto 10 points as time expired. Byrd went 3 of 4 from the free throwline in the final 39 seconds.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter with Brookhaven takinga 6-2 lead over turnover-plagued Simpson. In second-quarter play,Brookhaven pulled ahead 17-7 on a layup followed by a pair of freethrows from Byrd with 21 seconds left. Simpson senior guard LindseyParish cut the visitors’ lead to eight points, 17-9, following apair of freebies with 19 seconds left in the first half.

Directing Brookhaven with 14 points, three rebounds, two stealsand two assists was Byrd. Davidson fired in 11 points, pulled downeight rebounds and made five steals. Emily Langley grabbed fourrebounds.

“We played hard the whole game,” added Gray. “I am proud of ourgirls’ effort. These girls have strong Christian character. This isthe most unselfish team I’ve ever coached. We are able to handleour success with humility.”

Adriane Lee paced Simpson with 10 points.