Lady Mustangs kick BA girls out of Overall

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

CLINTON — The Lady Mustangs of Greenwood Pillow Academy movedone step closer to winning the MPSA Overall Tournament championshipTuesday night. Employing a physical defense, clutch shooting and aheight advantage, they dethroned the defending champion BrookhavenAcademy Lady Cougars 54-50 in Mississippi College’s A.E. WoodColiseum.

Pillow (38-2) advances to Friday’s semifinals. The Lady Mustangsplay the winner of the Jackson Academy-Marvell Academy game in theMillsaps College gymnasium. Presbyterian Christian School plays thewinner of the Jackson Prep-Simpson County contest in the othersemifinals game.

The Brookhaven Academy boys (34-1), fresh from winning the AAstate tournament, enter the action tonight at 7 against JacksonAcademy, the only team to beat them this season. They lost 50-47 tothe Raiders in overtime on Nov. 13, at Brookhaven.

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Brookhaven Academy ends its season 36-2. The Lady Cougars were43-0 last season when the captured the Overall crown.

Pillow was powered by 5-11 senior Meagan Webb who scored 12points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Senior forward Katie Buford added 11points and 5 rebounds. Buford’s trey from the top of the key hadgiven Pillow a 9-point, 48-39 lead with 6:01 left in the game.

“It was a very physical game for us,” said BA head coach BarryGray. “We got in foul trouble. Pillow’s defense moved us out of our(shooting) spots.”

Gray said his girls appreciated the fan support they had enjoyedduring their state championship run. “Our girls showed a lot ofcharacter when they were down by nine points. A lot of teams wouldhave given up. We want to honor God with the way we play, even indefeat.”

Gray’s girls almost caught the Mustangs in the fading seconds.Senior guard Kelli Byrd made consecutive field goals to pull herteam within 2 points, 52-50, with 21 seconds left.

With 11 seconds showing, BA center Kristian Davidson was fouled.She missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Pillow’s Lauren Coleman drewan intentional foul with 5 seconds left, and she made both freethrows to insure the win as the Mustangs retained possession.

“Laura Coleman made some big free throws for us,” said Pillowcoach Durwin Carpenter. “We have a great group of girls. They haddesire in their hearts to win this game.

“Brookhaven Academy has a great team and they’ve been ranked No.1 all year,” Carpenter added. “I told our girls to out there andhave fun. We wanted to press and run the floor and play defenseextremely hard.”

Pillow outrebounded the Cougars 20-19. Both teams had 19turnovers.

Early in the fourth quarter, Pillow entered the bonus free throwsituation and responded. Ten of the Mustangs’ final 13 points cameat the charity line. They made 18 of 25 free throws for the game,compared to BA’s 9 of 18.

Senior guard Mallory Logan powered the Cougars with 19 points,sacking 4 treys. She fouled out with 1:31 left to play and Pillowleading 52-46.

Byrd scored 6 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter. She alsohad 4 assists.

Davidson accounted for 11 points and 8 rebounds.

The Cougars took a 3-point lead at halftime on the strength ofLogan’s tie-breaking trey, Byrd’s 3-point play and a putback byDavidson. Logan had 11 points at halftime and Davidson had 8.