Lady Cougars cruise to South AA title

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

NATCHEZ — Senior guard Mallory Logan and her Brookhaven Academyteammates are looking forward to hosting the MPSA Class AA StateBasketball Tournament this week. They made sure they would be theNo. 1 seeds out of the South by whipping the host Adams CountyChristian School girls 59-33 Saturday in the South Statechampionship game, powered by Logan’s 18 points.

The Lady Cougars (33-1) will play either North Delta or Simpsonout of the North State AA Tournament on Tuesday or Wednesday,depending on the bracket. They are seeking a fourth consecutive AAstate title.

“We are real excited about hosting the state tournament,” saidLogan, one of four senior starters in the lineup. She and KelliByrd, Lauren Smith and Kristian Davidson were named to theall-tournament team.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We have a good chance of winning it again if we stay out offoul trouble and play hard,” said Logan. She helped the LadyCougars overwhelm ACCS with 3 treys as they romped to a 23-6,first-quarter lead and increased the margin to 41-18 athalftime.

Brookhaven Academy head coach Barry Gray watched his girls win aseventh straight South State title. They also are defending MPSAOverall Tournament champions after going 43-0 last season.

“We are playing well as a team right now,” said Gray. “Ourseniors have been a real blessing to us.”

For Gray, the game was unique because he was playing against ateam coached by his father, John R. Gray, for the second time. Theelder Gray also serves as headmaster at ACCS. He was headmaster atBA for 25 years before departing three years ago.

“You always have mixed emotions when you play against your dad,”the younger Gray admitted. “You always have to be thinking aboutwinning the game.”

There was little doubt regarding the outcome after the first fewminutes. The Lady Rebels (25-8) couldn’t handle BA’s full-courtpressure. They committed 9 first-quarter turnovers.

Smith sacked a pair of first-quarter treys and finished with 11points, all of them coming in the first half. She also had 6assists and 3 steals. Kelli Byrd made 4 assists and 3 steals.

On the backboards, BA senior Allyson Pickett grabbed 11 reboundsand junior forward Emily Langley had 5.

The elder Gray was gracious in defeat, praising the LadyCougars. “If they shoot like that, nobody is going to beat them.They are one of the best MPSA teams I’ve ever seen. I’m tickled todeath for them and for their success.

“They are super, Christian young ladies, too.”

The Lady Rebels, District 3-AA champions, steadied themselvesand played a stronger second half. They were led by 5-10 sophomoreforward Ariana DeLaSalle’s 8 points and 6 rebounds.

“They (Lady Rebels) are young at the guard position and ourpress really hurt them,” said Barry Gray.

In Saturday’s consolation game, Central Hinds beat Trinity56-41, determining third and fourth place in the South State.