Brookhaven Academy’s Lynch, Gray, Douglas in all-star action

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It’s an all-star weekend for Brookhaven Academy. Senior guardT-Boy Lynch and girls basketball coach Barry Gray will be part ofthe Mississippi Private School Association’s All-Star BasketballGames in A.E. Wood Coliseum, on the Mississippi College campus inClinton.

Outside, on the Millsaps College soccer field in Jackson, seniordefender Aaron Douglas will represent BA in Saturday’s All-StarBoys Soccer Game. Action kicks off a noon on Harper DavisField.

Douglas (5-11, 165), a standout defensive end on the footballfield last fall, helped the Cougars win the District 6-AAchampionship. Recognized for his fierce pass rush, Douglas was asack leader. He was named to the All-District and The DAILYLEADER’s All-Lincoln County Football Teams.

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On the soccer field, Douglas said he enjoys the physical demandsof the sport. “Soccer really keeps me in shape. There’s a lot ofrunning. It’s a lot more physical than most people think.”

His coach, Cory Smith, said Douglas is an exceptional athlete.”Aaron was by far our fastest player on the team. He was a hugeasset on defense because he could cover so much ground with hisspeed.”

Douglas said he plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community Collegenext fall. He is undecided on his major.

Coaching the South soccer team are Jamie Madison of CopiahAcademy and Bryan Jones of Presbyterian Christian School. Among theSouth all-stars from this area are Alec Donahoe of Copiah, BriceWilkinson of Parklane and Blaine Misita and Kolby Godfrey ofNatchez Trinity Episcopal School.

Lynch (5-9, 160) is a gifted athlete. Besides basketball, healso plays football and baseball. He elected to skip football hissenior year and concentrate on basketball.

Lynch was instrumental in leading the Cougars to a thirdstraight Class AA State Tournament championship. In a majorrebuilding season, Lynch was the only returning starter for CoachDale Watts, who lost 6 of his top 7 players to graduation.

Was Lynch surprised by his team’ success?

“We only had four guys practicing in September,” said Lynch. Therest were on the football team.

After full-scale practice began, Lynch saw some potential. “Iknew we would be good but I didn’t know how well we would do.”

Lynch said the state tournament semifinals win over powerfulMarshall Academy was a springboard to the title. The 61-60 victorysaw Lynch score 24 points, make 5 steals and 3 assists. He made 7of 8 free throws.

“When we beat Marshall, I felt like we could win state,” saidLynch. “It was a key.

“We had a lot of team chemistry,” he added. “We were all goodfriends. We were a unit. We would go to each other’s house and havea meal.”

The Cougars defeated Leake in the title game and finished31-4.

Looking to the future, Lynch said he plans to attend Ole Missand pursue a law degree. He might become a sports agent.

Asked about his toughest opponent, Lynch mentioned Marshall andParklane. “Marshall had the best overall team even though Parklanebeat us bad. Jimmy Palmer of Marshall is a really goodshooter.”

Saturday’s AA-AAA boys game tips off at 4:30. Coaching the Southboys are James Crain of Hillcrest Christian and Jason Norris ofCentral Private.

“T-Boy has been an impact player for us for four years,” saidWatts. “I moved him up on the varsity at the end of his freshmanyear.

“As a 10th grader, he really had some outstanding games for us.He’s such an exceptional athlete, he can really go to the rim.”

In his senior year, Lynch averaged 23 points, 6.5 steals and 5assists per game. He was recognized for his clutch shooting,quickness and his hustling performance on defense.

“T-Boy has gotten a lot tougher over the four years that Icoached him,” said Watts. “He was very instrumental in last year’sstate tournament championship.”

Watts said he is big believer in a senior leadership. “T-Boy ledby example. He was surrounded by inexperienced players. He put theteam on his shoulders, especially in the playoffs.”

The Cougars won a lot of close games this season and Lynch oftenfigured in the final outcome.

Gray, 44, is one of the most successful coaches in the MPSA,winning 6 state titles and 1 Overall. This season’s edition posteda 36-6 record. The Lady Cougars claimed the District 6-AA and SouthState AA titles before losing to Leake in the AA state championshipgame.

This is the sixth time for Gray to coach the all-stars. He willshare the coaching duties with Michael McAnally of East Rankin andStephen Force of 2007 Overall champion Madison-Ridgeland. TheAA-AAA girls game tips off at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. The will bepreceded by the Class A girls at 11 a.m. and the Class A boys at12:45 p.m.

Gray played in the 1981 all-star game after playing for hisfather’s Class A state championship team. John R. Gray Gymnasium isnamed in his father’s honor.

“We will have a lot of good players who are used to being thego-to player on their teams,” said Gray. “You only have threepractices to get them playing together. You try to have fun.”

Gray said his selection as an all-star coach was a tribute toBA’s highly successful program. “I’m proud of my girls and whatthey have accomplished. We had a great year.”