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BA girls turn back Trinity

CLINTON – Brookhaven Academy took a deep breath and finishedstrong. The Lady Cougars made their free throws in the fourthquarter, holding off the Natchez Trinity Episcopal School LadySaints 58-53 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the MAISOverall Tournament.

The victory, in Mississippi College’s crowded A.E. Wood Coliseum,was powered by junior center Anna Katelyn Mangold who led allscorers with 20 points, plus grabbing eight rebounds and blockingtwo shots. She was joined in double figures by Anna Lofton andTerah Winborne with 11 points each and Laura Beth Wright with10.

The Lady Cougars (31-5) advance to Friday’s Final Four semifinalsand meet No. 1-ranked East Rankin Academy (33-2) at 1 p.m. JacksonAcademy, a 66-61 winner over Class AA state champion Leake Academylast night, meets Greenwood Pillow at 2:15 in the other semifinalsgame.

“When we got down by four in the fourth quarter, our girls showed alot of fortitude,” said BA coach Barry Gray. “We didn’tpanic.”

Gray watched his girls fall behind 43-39 as Trinity eighth gradesensation Brandis White scored back-to-back field goals, the secondon a steal and a layup. She finished with 18 points.

Gray called a timeout and Mangold responded with two straight shortjumpers, gaining a 43-43 deadlock. Guard Anna Lofton followed witha baseline layup and a free throw, making it 46-43 with 5:26 leftto play.

“We made a commitment to taking the ball inside,” said Gray. “Ourfree throw shooting down the stretch was real good. Anna Lofton andLaura Beth (Wright) hit some big free throws for us.”

The Cougars got a trey from Winborne and a driving layup to pushthem ahead 51-45 with 3:05 left. Gray’s girls then made 7 of 8 freethrows, including a 4-for-4 streak by Lofton.

“Trinity has a good team,” said Gray. “They are unique andefficient.”

The Saints (24-11), coached by Ricky Spears, were runners-up in theClass A State Tournament. They got 13 points from sophomore guardBethany Ogden. Madelyn Cross, a 5-10 junior, added 12 points and 7rebounds.