Rhodes, East Rankin shine in victories over BA, Pillow

Published 7:14 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

CLINTON – Brooke Rhodes has lived up to all of her hype throughthe long basketball season. The East Rankin Academy senior pumpedin 31 points as the Lady Patriots overpowered Brookhaven Academy’sLady Cougars 51-35 Friday in the semifinals of the MAIS OverallTournament.

Rhodes, a 5-foot-7 senior guard who has signed with Delta StateUniversity, continued showcasing her skills Saturday, sacking 35points as she led East Rankin to a 62-44 win over Greenwood Pillowin the championship game held in Mississippi College’s A.E. WoodColiseum.

In the boys title game, Madison-Ridgeland Academy crushedPresbyterian Christian School of Hattiesburg 52-31.

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Brookhaven Academy (31-6) had lost twice to East Rankin during theregular season. The second meeting went overtime in BA’s HolidayClassic.

The Lady Cougars fell behind 28-14 at halftime and had no answerfor stopping Rhodes. They did get a stalwart performance fromjunior center Anna Katelyn Mangold who scored 17 points, grabbedseven rebounds and blocked four shots.

To their credit, Coach Barry Gray’s girls rallied in the thirdquarter and closed their deficit to 40-32 as sophomore guard TerahWinborne found the range and finished with 14 points. A shortjumper by Mangold reduced the deficit to six points, 40-34, earlyin the fourth quarter but BA only managed one free throw the restof the way.

“Brooke is special,” said East Rankin coach Michael McAnally. “Sheresponds to the moment. She knows it’s her time to shine.”

The Patriots (35-2) lost a season opening game to Yazoo County anda road test at Presbyterian Christian School. They shot 39 percentfrom the field against Brookhaven compared to BA’s 31percent.

Most importantly, they dominated the backboards, outrebounding theCougars 40-21. Rachel Knight, 5-10 senior, grabbed 12 rebounds.Kaitlyn Coghlan, a 5-8 junior, scored 12 points.

“Coghlan is our best athlete,” said McAnally. “She makes thingshappen for us.”

BA head coach Barry Gray said East Rankin is a powerful team. “EastRankin’s physicalness was rough. They went and got the ball. Rhodeshas probably shot more balls in practice than most teams.”

Rhodes made 14 of 26 field goal attempts, many of them runningjumpers.

Gray’s girls were Class AA runners-up to Leake Academy afterfinishing third the previous season. “We have to get more physicaland we must shoot the ball better. We can work on that in theoffseason.

“I’m proud of my girls,” Gray continued. “They came back and pulledwithin six. Our girls overcame a lot of adversity thisseason.”

Gray doesn’t have any seniors on his squad so they should be titlecontenders again.

Mangold, recovering from a sprained left ankle sustained in theSouth AA Tournament, was a force inside against East Rankin. Shemade 8 of 11 field goal attempts.

“We played hard but we couldn’t pull it out,” said Mangold. “Wecame a lot farther this season than some people thought.”