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BA Lady Cougars sink N. Delta; cruise to semis

Like a powerful battleship, the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougarscruised into the semifinals of the MPSA Class AA State BasketballTournament. Sparked by guard Kelli Byrd’s 14 points, the LadyCougars overwhelmed North Delta Academy’s Lady Green Waves 62-32Tuesday night in John R. Gray Gymnasium.

Byrd, one of four seniors in BA’s starting lineup, said sheenjoyed last night’s game. “It was fun. I had a lot of energy. Thisgame was important for us.

“Everybody played well,” Byrd continued. “We did what we weresupposed to do. Now we have to beat Indianola,” in Friday’ssemifinals.

The Lady Cougars (34-1) meet Indianola, a 45-39 winner overCentral Hinds, Friday at 2:15. They are seeking a fourth straightAA state title.

In boys opening round games yesterday, Prairie View Academyupset Marshall Academy 60-46 and Clarksdale Lee whipped CopiahAcademy 63-45.

Four games are on tap today. In the girls bracket, South No. 2Adams Chrsitian plays North No. 3 Simpson County at 4 and North No.1 Leake plays South No. 4 Trinity Episcopal at 6:30. In the boysbracket, North No. 3 Winston plays South No. 2 Trintiy at 5:15 andSouth No. 1 Brookhaven meets North No. 4 Leake at 7:45.

The Lady Cougars will play again Saturday, winor lose Friday, either in the consolation or championship games.They also are defending MPSA Overall Tournament champions. TheOverall tourney is next week at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Brookhaven Academy head coach Barry Gray watched his girlsdevour North Delta with a full-court press. They raced to a 17-0lead on a steal and a layup by Byrd with 2:11 showing. Gray used 9players in the first quarter and put 5 subs on the floor with 1:53left as the Lady Cougars led 38-6.

“I don’t think (North Delta) was used to our hand speed,” saidGray. “We took them out of their flex offense. We made some stealsand discouraged them a little bit.”

The Lady Waves were confronted with a 38-10 halftime deficit andthings got worse. Guards Mallory Logan and Lauren Smith joined Byrdin double digits with 11 and 10 points respectively.

On the backboards, BA senior center Kristian Davidson pulleddown 9 rebounds and scored 8 points. Emily Langley made 3 steals.Smith had 3 steals and 3 assists.

“Brookhaven Academy is the best team I’ve seen all year,” saidNorth Delta coach Herman Coats. “They have excellent quickness anda deep bench. They know how to attack the basketball ondefense.”

The Lady Waves (18-17) got 11 points from center Margaret Brittand 10 from guard Alex Rice.

Indianola 45, Central Hinds 39

Leading the Indianola girls were Maragret Long with 17points and Anne Polk with 10. Cental Hinds got 13 points from JamieDavis and 12 fro Hannah Gardner.

Lee 63, Copiah 45

The Clarksdale Lee Colts (28-2) were directed by BlakeSmith’s 15 points. Jesse Spinks added 13 and Randy Mercer12.

The Copiah Colonels (16-23) got 19 points fro Jake Guessand 11 from Brandt Hood.

Prairie View 60, Marshall 46

Point guard Daniel Echols tossed in 15 points to leadthe Spartans (23-13) past Marshall. Jared Edwards and Josh Jonesaded 13 points apiece for the No. 3 team out of theSouth.

Marshall got off to a slow start and never recovered.The Patriots trailed 33-18 at halftime and 10 of their points cameat the free-throw line. They cut thier deficit to 7 points butcould come no closer in the second half.

“Our kids are young and they played hard,” said PrairieView coach Bill Pee. He has only one senior, Josh Jones, in thestarting lineup.”

“Now we get to play the winner of the Brookhaven-Leakegame,” said Pee with a smile, referring to the semifinals. “I don’tknow if that’s a reward or what.”

Marshall (23-13), runner-up to Lee in the North, got 12ponts from Thomas Rogers and 9 from Thomas Carlisle.