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MRA eliminates Cougars

CLINTON — The last time Brookhaven Academy metMadison-Ridgeland Academy in boys basketball was the semifinalround of the MPSA Overall Tournament in 2006. Jeremy Winbornebecame a permanent part of Brookhaven Academy history that night ashe sank a running jumper at the buzzer to give Brookhaven astunning one-point victory over the Patriots.

In fact, Brookhaven’s unlikely victory that night was the onlyloss MRA has suffered in an Overall Tournament game since 2003.

The two teams met once again on Wednesday night in thequarterfinal round, with the winner moving to the semifinals matchwith Pillow Academy. MRA had revenge on its mind and the Patriotsgot a fair share as they whipped Brookhaven 66-37 in a game thatCougars actually led 29-28 at the break.

The Cougars found a tough go of things in the second half as astingy Patriot defense and an ice-cold shooting performance allowedthe Cougars just 8 points in the final two frames as MRA ran awaywith a 29-point victory.

The Patriots (31-9) are coached by veteran Richard Duease.

“I don’t think we played great in the first half, but we didplay very hard.” said Brookhaven coach Dale Watts. “We could’vebeaten MRA and I really think we should have beaten them, but therewere a couple of tough breaks in the second half and we missed alot of shots that we normally make. Everything just kind ofsnowballed from there and we couldn’t recover from it.”

Watts said his team achieved much this season, including afourth straight Class AA state title against overwhelming odds.”I’m proud of my guys and what they accomplished. There were a lotof people that doubted them late in the year but they stepped upand showed what they could do and what they were made of. They hada great year and they have a lot to be proud of. I’m very proud ofthem.”

Senior forward Corey Dickerson scored a team-high 12 points tolead Brookhaven. Blaine Roberts added 7 points and five rebounds.Josh Winborne and Jake Reed each scored 7 points.

“I want to thank our sixth man, the Cougar Nation,” added Watts.”They really stepped up and did their job through the statetournament and again here tonight. That helped us tremendously.They helped pull us through a lot of close games.”

Andrew Howell and Fraser Adams each scored 12 points to leadMRA. Ryan Goolsby and Matthew Berry each scored 9 points insupport.

Brookhaven, which won its fourth consecutive MPSA AA State Titleand fifth in the past six years, ends its season with a 26-9record.