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BA Cougars in high gear for tonight’s AA state test

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars are in high gear and firing onall cylinders as they prepare for tonight’s MPSA Class AA StateTournament game against East Rankin Academy in Pelahatchie.Brookhaven Academy coach Dale Watts hopes his Cougars continuetheir high level performance this week.

East Rankin’s Patriots are the first road block. They’ll havethe home court advantage and a partisan crowd on their side whenthey meet the defending state champion Cougars tonight at 7:45 inthe cramped gymnasium. Copiah Academy’s Colonels (14-13) playIndianola Academy in the 5:15 game today.

“It will be a real solid tournament,” predicted Watts.

“Our kids have been playing well. I hope we can keep it ingear.”

His Cougars (31-1) have roared through the District 4-AA andSouth State Tournaments the last two weeks. They crushed hostColumbia Academy 70-49 Saturday night in the South title game.

Against Columbia, the Cougars had 5 players in double figures,led by center Seth Davis and guard T-Boy Lynch with 15 points each.Jeremy Winborne added 14 points, Alan Gray 13 and Kurt Perkins11.

Winborne, one of four seniors in BA’s starting lineup, expressedconfidence in himself and his team. “We have a great chance to winit if we all do our job. We have to play up to our potential.”

The Cougars make up for their lack of height with quickness andshooting skills. “We are a quick team,” said Winborne. Each of thefive starters play an important role on this team. If one isn’thaving a good night, another player will step up.”

Davis, a slender 6-foot-5 senior, is the tallest player on theteam. He has been a 3-year starter for Watts.

“I feel good about our chances at state,” said Davis. “We can’toverlook any team. We have to take it one game at a time. We are aclose team, on and off the court.”

Gray, a senior guard, agreed. “We are really coming together asa team. We had five starters in double figures Saturday night. Wehave a good chance at winning state.”

East Rankin Preview

Watts had a limited scouting report on tonight’s opponent. ThePatriots won their district title but lost 67-54 to Leake in theNorth semifinals. “East Rankin has a really good point guard whoselast name is Weldon,” said Watts. “He’s about 6-foot. He’s one oftheir leading scorers.”

“The next best player is a kid named Williamson,” Watts noted.”He’s about 6-3 and plays the wing and post. He’s a good perimetershooter, too.”

“Their third best is a player named McCloud. He’s 6-2 and playsa wing. He’s a streak shooter.”

Watts said East Rankin’s post players are in the 6-2 to 6-4range. “They will have us in size.

“Their coach used to be an assistant at JA. They will work hardon defense.”

Leake was upset in the district tournament semifinals byUniversity Christian but managed to win the North title.

Tuesday’s Results

In Tuesday’s opening round, the North boys made a strongstatement as Leake beat Prairie View 56-51 and Marshall whippedColumbia Academy 65-43. In girls action, Leake humbled BowlingGreen 71-45 and Columbia beat Winston 59-49.