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Cougars claim AA state titlle

Brookhaven Academy’s boys made sure their fans would doubletheir pleasure Saturday in the MPSA Class AA State Tournament inJohn R. Gray Gymnasium. They defeated Clarksdale Lee Academy 68-59,powered by guard Jeremy Winborne’s 24 points.

The victory, before a standing-room-only crowd estimated at1,300, gave Brookhaven Academy a sweep of the state tournament,matching their outstanding 2003 performance.

The Cougars (34-1) will play Wednesday at 7 p.m., in the OverallTournament at Mississippi College in Clinton. They’ll face thewinner of an opening round game, probably Jackson Academy.

The Colts (28-3) galloped to a 14-2 lead in the first fewminutes of the first quarter, using their surprising speed andquickness. Brookhaven regrouped and pulled within 1 point, 29-28,at halftime as sophomore T-Boy Lynch poured in 12 second-quarterpoints. Lynch finished with 17 points.

The Cougars took their first lead with 6:28 remaining in thethird quarter at 30-29 on a layup by Cole Hodges. With 5:15 left inthe third frame, Winborne and Alan Gray sacked back-to-back treysfor a 7-point lead. In the torrid fourth quarter, Winborne scored13 of his game-high total. He went 6-for-7 at the charity line inthe last 8 minutes of the game.

“Coach Watts told us at halftime that we had to increase ourdefensive pressure,” said Winborne. “We had to work harder on theoffensive end, too.”

Lee, coached by Robert Daniels, praised his team. “I’m proud ofmy kids and how far they’ve come in the last three weeks.Brookhaven has a great team and a great coach. This was a verytough place to play.”

Daniels said the third quarter was decisive. “Brookhaven made afew runs on us and we couldn’t keep up.”

The Colts were powered by Jeremy Spinks with a game-high 30points.

Brookhaven Academy head coach Dale Watts was pleased by histeam’s comeback. “We started off poorly. We knew that Lee would befaster than us.

“We had to adjust after the first quarter,” Watts continued. “Itold our kids at halftime that we would have to work harder on thedefensive side of the ball.”

“Jeremy Winborne is a gamer,” said Watts. “He the person youwant to have the ball in games like this.

They were led on the backboards by Hodges with 8 rebounds plus12 points. Seth Davis and Winborne each had 6 rebounds.

Winborne made 5 steals and Davis 4. Davis and Winborne each had3 assists.

“Cole Hodges has done a tremendous job of leading this team,”said Watts. “He’s the type of player who doesn’t care about scoringpoints. All he cares about is helping the team win.”

Hodges is the only senior starter on the squad.

“It feels great to win in our own gym,” said Hodges. “It makesthose three-hour practices seem worthwhile.”

In the consolation game, Winston Academy beat Prairie View79-63.