Public versus Private would make fun games

Published 5:14 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yes, it would be fun.

     Imagine a Holiday Invitational basketball tournament between Christmas and New Year’s, featuring three private schools, three public schools and three days of competition in a round-robin format.

     Yes, interest would be extremely high. Yes, attendance would be packed with enthusiasm and school spirit. Participating teams could share in the ticket sales. Tickets could be sold in advance to avoid a long waiting line at the entrance.

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     How about a 3-day pass, sold in advance?

     How about a family ticket package?

     For sure, there is unlimited potential.

     For openers, Brookhaven Academy, Parklane Academy and Adams County Christian School could represent the MAIS.

     The public or MHSAA schools could be represented by Brookhaven, West Lincoln and Bogue Chitto. Better yet, include the top three boys teams and the top three girls teams from Lincoln County each year.

     Unfortunately, Brookhaven Academy is the only local school willing to enter this format. Administrators from Lincoln County and the Brookhaven Public School District frown on the mere mention of athletic competition against Brookhaven Academy.

     Call it a puzzling form of polarization or segregation in the world of high school athletics.

     For the unknowing reader, athletes from both ends of the spectrum play each other in baseball and basketball during the summer months when school is out. Ask the players, and they will tell you they actually enjoy the competition.

      For sure, the fans would be excited by the proposed matchups. Financially, there is a big benefit to playing local schools instead of having to travel 50-100 miles for a game.

     Brookhaven Academy athletic director and head football coach Tripp McCarty said he would like to play local schools in football and all sports. By MHSAA enrollment numbers, the BA Cougars would belong to Class 1A. They are Class AA in the MAIS.

     Jackson Prep, an MAIS powerhouse, actively pursues games with public schools in the Capital City area. The Patriots played the Class 5A Pearl Pirates during the 2012 season and posted a 9-0 victory. The playing field didn’t sink into an abyss after the game.

     Obviously, the Patriots were happy and the Pirate fans were not. Believe it or not, the sun actually rose the next morning.

     It’s just a game.


     Brookhaven Academy played the Class 1A Salem Wildcats of Walthall County last month. Salem had hosted the Cougars and Lady Cougars last season. The competition was good and the games were exciting. The BA girls won 50-43 and the BA boys prevailed 51-45.

     Obviously, there are some progressive, open-minded thinkers in rural Walthall County. Salem and Dexter have been playing private schools for several years in football and basketball.

     Dexter invades BA’s John R. Gray Gymnasium Tuesday night, Jan. 8. It should be a great matchup. Dexter is one of the stronger boys teams in Class 1A this year.



     The Third Annual Old Hickory Dinner, sponsored by the Andrew Jackson Council and benefiting the Boy Scouts of America, will be held Feb. 28, at the Jackson Hilton. ESPN Game Day legend Lee Corso will be the guest speaker.

     Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. event are available in advance. For more information, contact Mike Tischer of the Andrew Jackson Council, BSA, at 601-948-6111 and 601-596-3875.

     Be there or be square.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: