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Gymnasium germs slow sports editor

Blame it on gymnasium germs.

    A chronic, stuffy nose, a nagging, wheezy cough and an occasionalsneezing blitz can stagger the most dedicated, strong-willed sportswriters. Those coughing, congestion problems can interrupt peacefulsleep, too.

    Those symptoms prompted yours truly to seek medical assistanceWednesday morning. That youthful ability to shake it off and keepon keeping on has abandoned this 64-year-old body. After a coupleof days, it actually hurts.

    “Tom, you need to get more rest.”

    A familiar phrase spoken by my devoted wife of nearly 42 years.Laurie knows what’s best for Grizzly Goetz. Once upon a time, in myyounger years, five hours of sleep were considered a good night’srest.

    When basketball games keep a writer at the gym after 10:30 p.m. ona week night, the number of sleeping hours is drastically reduced.Take your vitamins and get those six hours before answering thebell at 5 a.m.

    There are horses, dogs and one cat to be fed before heading for theoffice each morning. The critters appreciate punctuality in theirfeeding time, just like the boss appreciates your arrival at workat the designated time.

    There are deadlines to meet and basketball games to write. Othergames are either faxed , Emailed, or  phoned in by area coaches. Three ofthe most conscientious coaches are Billy Vaughn and Gene (Moochie)Britt of Loyd Star and Lane Young of West Lincoln.

    They make our job easier. There are good  things to write, even when the hometeam loses. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends perusethe sports pages in search of their favorite siblings.

    Certainly, it requires a team effort to keep all the local sportscovered. Many schools are in the peak of their basketball season,aiming for a state tournament berth.

    Oh yes, baseball coaches and their players are anxious to starttheir season, many with jamborees this weekend at Brookhaven,Wesson and Loyd Star. All we need is sunshine.

    At Brookhaven’s Moyer Field, Coach Randy Spring’s Panthers will bejoined by teams from Lawrence County, Vicksburg and Clinton. CoachSeth Lofton of Wesson has invited Enterprise, Franklin County andNorth Pike to his clambake, make that cookout.

    At Loyd Star, new head coach Jared Britt will host Bogue Chitto andColumbia for Saturday baseball action.

    Brookhaven Academy’s classic was rained out Monday but the Cougarswere able to host three games Tuesday. They played anotherabbreviated contest Wednesday.

    

    Brookhaven Academy resumes its march to the state tournament todayin the South State AA Tournament at Simpson Academy nearMendenhall.  The BA LadyCougars (28-5) play Sylva-Bay Academy at 4 p.m. The Cougars (27-3)tackle Lamar School at 6:30.

    Obviously, both BA teams are favored to win. A victory today placesthem in Friday’s semifinals. Win or lose, they’ll play Saturday,either in the championship or consolation games. Next stop is theMAIS Class AA State Tournament at Grenada Kirk next week.

    Coach Dale Watts has done another outstanding job with his BA boys.He usually starts three seniors in Brock Smith, Brennan Miller andChristian (Bubba) Keene. Also in the starting lineup are GagePosey, Matthew Evans and Zach Smith.

    “Lamar has a good little ol’ team,” said Watts. “They have a goodpoint guard who is the key.”

    The Cougars have lost twice to AA Central Private and once to AAAJackson Academy this season. BA will be one of the favorites in theAA state tournament.

    Watts had coached the Cougars to six straight state tournamenttitles before getting derailed last season.

    The BA Lady Cougars, under the direction of first-year head coachGinger Duease, are the defending Overall State Champions. They wererunners-up to Leake Academy in AA state last season but recoveredand won four straight games in the Overall gathering at MississippiCollege in Clinton. Coach Barry Gray stepped down at BA last springto accept a coaching position at Southern Baptist Education Centerin Southaven.

    “Sylva-Bay has a young group and they rebound the ball well,” saidDuease. “We have to play good defense and take away those openshots.”

 

    Two talented starters, guard Terah Winborne and forward Laura BethWright, returned from that BA team of destiny. Center CareyCrozier, guards Madison Warren and Destiny Allen comprise thestating lineup.

    Mary Jordan and Lindsey Winborne are late additions to the startingunit, replacing  Crozierand Allen who were injured in practice Wednesday morning. CoachDuease said Crozier and Allen were running a practice drill when ahead-on collision occurred.

    Duease said Crozier was hospitalized after the accident andtransferred to Jackson. She might be ready for Saturday’s game.Allen suffered a concussion and is doubtful, too.

 

    In other basketball action today, West Lincoln’s boys host theSouth Mississippi Class 1A quarterfinals in Jack Case Gymnasium.The Bears (26-4), coached by Lane Young, meet McAdams at 5:30p.m.

    Semifinals are set Friday and the championship game is Saturday at7. Only the top two teams advance to the state tournament at theMississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

    Another boys team, the Wesson Cobras (21-9) are at Bay Springstonight for an 8:30 test against Union in Class 2A. The Cobras arecoached by  RustyNewman.

 

    Two Lincoln County girls teams, plus one from Lawrence County andone from Franklin County remain alive in the South playoffs. LoydStar’s Lady Hornets are at Taylorsville tonight to play the hostLady Tartars. Bogue Chitto’s Lady Bobcats (18-12), coached byChristi Terrell,  are atStringer to play Durant.

    The Lady Hornets of Loyd Star (19-11), coached by Billy Vaughn,face a tough assignment at Taylorsville and so do Terrell’s LadyCats.

    Lawrence County’s Lady Cougars (19-10), coached by Vicki Rutland,were Class 4A state runners-up last year. The test Port Gibsontonight at Forrest County AHS, just south of Hattiesburg in thequaint little town of Brooklyn.

    Franklin County’s Lady Bulldogs (24-4), coached by Charles Moore,tackle host  Forest todayfor a 5:30 p.m. game in South 3A.  Moore will be helping coach theMississippi All-Star Girls Team in next month’s Alabama-MississippiClassic.

 

    Contact Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com