BA Cougars challenge powerful MRA

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2006

JACKSON — The Brookhaven Academy Cougar boys (35-1) face theirtoughest challenge of the MPSA Overall State Tournament Fridaynight when they meet the top-ranked Madison-Ridgeland AcademyPatriots at Millsaps College. The semifinals game is scheduled tobegin at 7:15 p.m.

In Wednesday night boys action, the MRA Patriots (36-5) put awayWest Memphis 78-57 and Jackson Academy whipped Marshall Academy75-43. In the girls games, Jackson Academy dumped Columbia Academy59-42 and Jackson Prep eliminated Delta 51-34.

All of Friday’s games will be played at Millsaps College becauseMC is hosting the ASC Women’s Tournament. The championship gamesreturn to Mississippi College Saturday night.

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If Coach Dale Watts’ Cougars can beat the Patriots, Brookhavenwould advance to the boys championship game at A.E. Wood Coliseum.The Cougars would face the winner of Friday night’s othersemifinals game between Jackson Academy and Delta Academy.

In the girls’ semifinals Friday, Jackson Academy tangles withMarvell, Ark., at 1 p.m. and Parklane (29-6) squares off againstJackson Prep at 2.

Brookhaven knocked off Jackson Prep 52-44 in overtime Tuesdaynight. Seth Davis powered the Cougars with 15 points followed byT-Boy Lynch with 14. Alan Gray pulled down seven rebounds.

In MRA’s win over West Memphis, the Patriots were led by BrandonBolen with 24 points,15 rebounds and two blocked shots. SamuelBolen fired in 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Trey Frazerfollowed with 13 points.

Watts has seen MRA play and talked about the talented Patriotteam.

“MRA is well balanced,” said Watts. “They play seven guys. Theirstarting five is extremely big.”

The Patriots have two tall brothers on the team, Brett and TyArmstrong, who are 6-foot-3.

“The Bolen Twins are 6-5,” said Watts. “They have Frazer, whocame in from St. Andrew’s, who is 6-1 and is the No. 2 shootingguard.”

According to Watts, the Patriots have more talent coming of thebench.

” They have a kid named Chris Walker that is 6-6 and comes offthe bench,” said Watts. “MRA has a lot of size. They’re anexcellent ball team. The Patriots are quick and can also handle theball.”

Watts says MRA boys coach Richard Duease has them playing undercontrol. “They rise to the competition they are playingagainst.”

While the Brookhaven offense has struggled the past week, Wattsfeels his players will break out and respond to the MRAchallenge.

“I think our offense will come around,” explained Watts. “Wehave been an offensive team all year. We are in a bit of a slumpbut we can step out of it any time.

” I really think, the pressure side, is not now as it once was.Sometimes when you are in a state tournament you try real hard tomeet the goals you want to meet. We have met those goals. I hopethey will relax. That will help our offense.”

Watts also credits the huge support from the Cougar fans forhelping the team pull out some big wins. Davis, Gray, Kurt Perkinsand Jeremy Winborne are senior starters for Watts. Lynch is ajunior.