BA, BHS own championships

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 27, 2004

The 2003-04 high school athletic season will be remembered bestfor three state championships. Probably the most publicized of thetrifecta was the amazing 43-0 season accomplished by BrookhavenAcademy’s Lady Cougar basketball team who won the MPSA OverallTournament.

Another major milestone came last weekend when the BrookhavenPanthers captured the Class 4A state baseball championship atSmith-Wills Stadium in Jackson. After years of solid efforts butshort-term survival in the state playoffs, the unranked Panthersclawed and battled all the way to the top. They finished 30-8,outscoring North champion Pontotoc 21-2 in the final two games ofthe best-of-three series.

Another historic event saw the BHS cheerleaders capturing the 4Astate cheer title and advancing to the nationals in Orlando, Fla.where they finished fourth. The format, based on a demandingathletic routine rather then the loudest voices, was a sight tobehold as the girls showcased their gymnastic skills, too.

Coach Barry Gray’s Lady Cougars were recognized far and wide fortheir unbeaten record. It brought back memories of the 1984 seasonwhen the BHS Lady Panthers, led by National USA Today Player of theYear Chana Perry, marched to a perfect 40-0 mark under Coach TommyGoodson.

Apparently, a lot of these state championships run in 20-yearcycles. It was 1983 when the BA Lady Cougars last won an Overallbasketball title. With the return of four starters and five of thetop six players for the 2004-05 campaign, there are loftyexpectations for Coach Gray’s team.

Looking at baseball, Coach Randy Spring’s Panthers lose eightseniors, seven of them starters. Returning for the Panthers will beleft-fielder Darius Perkins and second baseman Elliot Warren.

Does rebuilding or reloading sound better?

For the record, Brookhaven Academy managed to win a statebaseball championship in 1984. Bobby Reid coached the Cougarsquad.

In 1980, Loyd Star marched to a state baseball championship inthe old Class BB alignment. The Hornets were under the direction ofCoach Ricky Smith.

Looking ahead, the MPSA All-Star Slowpitch Softball Games arethis Saturday at Traceway Park in Clinton. Representing BrookhavenAcademy is shortstop Amber Beeson.

On the horizon is the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star FootballClassic in Mobile, Ala., Saturday night, June 5. Brookhaven’sPhilip Tobias will represent the Panthers and play defensiveend.

On the same day, at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, theCrossroads Diamond Club’s annual All-Star Baseball Games will takeplace. Coach Randy Spring and centerfielder Xavier Qualls willrepresent Brookhaven in the Class 4A-5A contest. In the Class1A-2A-3A contest, Loyd Star catcher Matthew Delaughter will playfor the South squad.

The MAC’s All-Star soccer games, girls and boys, is set for June19, at Raymond, on the Hinds Community College field.

All-Star softball fans will have to travel to Newton County towitness this year’s Slowpitch and Fastpitch All-Star Games. On theSouth fastpitch roster are catchers Megan Bateman of Brookhaven andGina McCloud of Lawrence County and pitcher Kelly Stokes ofLawrence County.

On the South slowpitch squad is Brittney Alexander of NorthPike. The best-of-three fastpitch series starts at noon, followedby the slowpitch at 5 p.m.

Moving to July, in conjunction with the MAC’s annualclinic/convention in Jackson, there will be all-star basketball,tennis and football. On Thursday, July 15, the North-South All-StarBasketball Games will be played at Mississippi College inClinton.

Under a new format, the girls and boys games will feature risingseniors. In the past, many of the selected all-stars were graduatedseniors who became no-shows due to conflicts with jobs, college andho-hum.

Loyd Star veteran Gene “Moochie” Britt will help coach the Southboys. Two players from Lawrence County are on the roster, DavidClark and J.P. Lewis. North Pike’s John Stephens will help coachthe South girls.

The All-Star Tennis Tournament is set for Friday, July 16 atParham-Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson. The Bernard BlackwellAll-Star Football Classic will be held that night at MadisonCentral.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz at The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com