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Brookhaven Academy marches into semifinals

GRENADA — Brookhaven Academy’s basketballteams moved one step closer to their goal of winning MAIS Class AAState Tournament championships Tuesday night as both teamsregistered opening round victories in Kirk Academy’sgymnasium..  The Cougarstopped Leake Academy 68-53 while the Lady Cougars handled NorthDelta 58-47.

      With the wins, both teamshave assured themselves of games on both Friday (semifinals) andSaturday (finals), either in the consolation or championships.

    In yesterday’s other opening round games, Central Private whippedthe Immanuel Christian boys 71-57 and the Leake Academy girlscrushed ACCS 69-35.

Brookhaven  68,  Leake  53

    The Cougars (31-3) the No. 1 seeds from the South AA,advance  to meet the winnerof today’s Bowling Green, La. and Canton Academy at 7:15 Fridaynight.  Leake, No. 4 out ofthe North, ends its season at 24-14.

    Central Private (30-6) awaits the winner of the Marshall-Trinitygame at 6 p.m. Friday.

    Brookhaven got a huge performance from senior Brock Smith as hescored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to leadthe Cougars. Fellow senior Brennan Miller added 21 points insupport.  Gage Posey scored13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. 

    “We didn’t play well in some areas,” said BA head coach DaleWatts.  “We shot the ballwell from the perimeter, but we didn’t rebound well and our defensewasn’t very good.  Thoseare some things that will give you a loss this time of year.”

    Brookhaven torched the Rebel defense for nine 3-point goals in thegame, but gave up 7 treys to the Rebels.

    The Cougars raced to a 36-23 halftime lead.

    Wesley Webb scored 20 points to lead the Rebels.  Alex and Aaron Sheppard followed with10 points each.

Brookhaven  58   North Delta  47

    Lady Cougars head coach Ginger Duease watched her team storm to a30-11 halftime lead over the Green Wave, and probably thought hersquad would cruise to a victory.  But thanks to early foul trouble anda determined North Delta team, Duease and the Lady Cougars had towork hard to preserve a victory. 

    Brookhaven improved to 32-6 on the season while North Delta endsits season with a 30-11 mark.

    Brookhaven saw its one-time, 20-point lead dwindle to just fourpoints at the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but clutch freethrow shooting sealed the deal for the Lady Cougars. 

    Senior guard Terah Winborne scored a game- high 23 points andpulled down 13 rebounds to go along with 7 steals. Fellow seniorLaura Beth Wright tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals ofher own.

    “Foul trouble nearly cost us the game,”  said Duease.  “We had to battle through a lot ofadversity, but I’m very proud of how my girls handled it.

    “They showed a lot of grit and determination in finding a way towin.  We beat a good teamand are still alive in the state tournament, so we’re right wherewe wanted to be.”

    Brookhaven Academy junior center Carey Crozier saw her first actionsince suffering a head injury last Wednesday in practice. Shescored 5 points.

    Bradi Beard scored a team-high 18 points to lead NorthDelta.  Laci Dubravec added12 points and Hanna Greenlee scored 10.

    The Lady Cougars advance to meet the winner of Bowling Green andRiverdale game Friday at 2:15 in the semifinals. Leake  (36-2) awaits the winner of theSimpson-Oak Hill game at 1 p.m. Friday.