BA Cougars plug Leake

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You gotta believe!

In a major rebuilding season, the Brookhaven Academy Cougarssurprised their followers and their opponents. Saturday night, theCougars claimed a third consecutive MPSA Class AA State Tournamentchampionship, beating the Leake Academy Rebels 70-63 in John R.Gray Gymnasium.

A capacity crowd watched junior forward Corey Dickerson pour ina game-high 27 points and senior guard T-Boy Lynch bag 24 as theCougars realized a rare 3-peat. Blaine Roberts chipped in 11 pointsfor veteran coach Dale Watts.

In the MPSA Overall Tournament at Mississippi College in Clintonthis week, the Cougars (32-5) will play the winner of theParklane-Natchez Trinity game. The Lady Cougars will play thewinner of Marvel-Presbyterian Christian School game. Times anddates had not been set at press time.

“People really didn’t think we had a chance to make it thisfar,” said Watts, as he received congratulations from well-wishers.”But these guys worked so hard to get better. I can’t say enoughabout it.

“It wasn’t necessarily talent or anything, but you can’t measureheart. These kids achieved more than people ever thought theycould. I’m proud of them.”

The Cougars avenged a narrow road loss to Leake in the Hillcresttournament. The Rebels fell to 27-11 with the setback. They trailedBrookhaven 38-28 at halftime.

Dickerson sacked 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. Hemade 5 of 7 free throws.

“We practiced and practiced and practiced,” said Lynch. “Webelieved in each other and we believed in Coach Watts. He is whatgot us here. It’s incredible to win three in a row.”

Watts only had one starter returning in Lynch. He had lost 6 ofhis top 7 players to graduation.

“We did a great job of controlling the game,” said Watts. “Leakewas always in a defensive mindset throughout and never couldregroup. Daniel Lofton and Josh Winborne did a tremendous job ofworking hard defensively, going after loose balls and making surewe knew what we were

doing offensively.

” We worked so hard on the defensive end. We didn’t give themgood looks at the basket. I proud of these guys. I don’t care whatanyone says, defense wins championships.”

The Rebels got 22 points from Lance Jones and 15 from AustinByrd.