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Short vacation for BA’s Overall champs

There is no overconfidence in Barry Gray’shouse. Forget about kicking back and resting on your laurels.

Just because Gray’s Brookhaven Academy Cougars went 43-0 and wonthe Mississippi Private School Association Overall BasketballTournament last March, there’s little time for basking in thespotlight.

Under Gray’s tutelage, the Lady Cougars went through a vigoroussummer workout routine. They lifted weights, practiced andparticipated in three basketball team camps.

For sure, the Lady Cougars are the darlings of the prepbasketball world. Four senior starters return for the 2004-05campaign; guards Kelli Byrd and LaurenSmith, forward Mallory Logan and centerKristian Davidson.

The fifth spot is expected to be filled by EmilyLangley and Allyson Pickett. On paper,the Lady Cougars are the MPSA’s preseason No. 1 and the primetarget of every opponent. Obviously, the Overall crown makes thatbull’s-eye much larger.

Gray said the basketball camps provided several strong tests forhis girls. At the Mississippi State University Shootout inStarkville, BA went 4-2, losing to Class 5A Meridian by one pointand to Class 3A state champion Choctaw Central by 12. BA got somewins over Class 5A Alabama teams.

In the Bearcat Team Camp at Copiah-Lincoln Community College,the Lady Cougars lost to 5A Clinton in overtime. Later in theJackson Academy Camp, they avenged the loss to Clinton and went10-0, beating Forest Hill and New Albany the same day.

Certainly, Gray was encouraged by his team’s performance. “Wehad our best level of competition this summer. By the end of summerwe really started to get better.”

The Lady Cougars played around 54 games, 27 with the A Team and27 with the B Team. Gray was especially encouraged by theperformance of his ninth grade team that went undefeated.

There will be some large shoes to fill after next season.

Looking ahead, Gray’s girls tip off their varsity campaign Nov.1-5, at the ACCS Tipoff Classic in Natchez. He has beefed up theschedule, adding home-and-home dates with Jackson Prep and JacksonAcademy, plus Class AAA foes Central Private and HillcrestChristian. A rematch with Overall runner-up Leake Academy will beplayed Dec. 2, on a neutral court, located at East Rankin Academyin Pelahatchie.

Gray said he has arranged a date with new District 4-AA foeTrinity Episcopal and it will be played at Mississippi College inClinton. A.E. Wood Coliseum is the annual site of the OverallTournament.

In the meantime, Gray is coaching BA’s junior high football teamand serving as athletic director at the school. In the spring, hecoaches the golf team.

Locals finish dificult triathlon

alk about an endurance test, the Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon, basedin Philadelphia, is a 35-mile trail of torture in the last weekendof July in sultry Mississippi.

The HDT starts in Louisville at Lake Tiak-O’Khata with ahalf-mile swim. Then competitors bicycle 27.5 miles to Philadelphiafollowed by a run of 7 miles to the Neshoba County Fairgrounds racetrack. It’s a great accomplishment just to finish. SeveralBrookhaven area men competed.

Shannon Knott, local bicycle shop owner, camein third in his age group, 2:16:51. Retired physical therapistBobby Bowton placed third in 3:42:00 in the 65 agegroup.

Dr. Spencer Mooney, local ear, nose and throatspecialist, did a 2:35:16 in 46-age group. Pat Davey, 47-year-oldassistant pastor at Faith Presbyterian Church, had a time of2:55:47 seconds.

Richard Barker, Brookhaven Fitness Center CEO,was 2:44:28, in the age 39 group. Ken Meacham, inthe age 55 group, posted a time of 2:49:50.

The Sons of Thunder, a local trio from Faith, won the teamchampionship in 2:06:36. Daniel Killian did theswim, Andy Hoeniges the cycle and RobOates, Jr., the run, beating the runner-up team by 4minutes.

ASA Class E state tourney here

Area motels should be full Friday night and Saturday as the ASAClass E Men’s Softball Tournament comes to the Hansel KingSportsplex. Cash registers, a.k.a. computers, should be ringing upsales at area restaurants and businesses.

Sixteen teams from across the Magnolia State are entered in thedouble-elimination tournament which begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.Local entries include Kats, Honda of Brookhaven and Little Ceasar’sPizza

Terry Reid, director of Brookhaven Parks andRecreation, said admission to the tournament is free. Softball fanswill see some outstanding men’s teams in action.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz c/o The DAILY LEADER atP.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39206 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com