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BA begins basketball season, Tuesday

DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Seniors playing basketball for the Brookhaven Academy Cougars are (from left) Caleb Brown, Drake Flowers, Peyton Hood and Trent Nettles.

DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Seniors playing basketball for the Brookhaven Academy Cougars are (from left) Caleb Brown, Drake Flowers, Peyton Hood and Trent Nettles.

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars and Lady Cougars will be experiencing a rebuilding year this season as they begin their 2014-15 basketball campaign.

Brookhaven Academy debuts Tuesday as they prepare to visit Jackson to take on the Jackson Academy Raiders. The Lady Cougars are set to begin action at 6 p.m., followed by the boys.

The Cougars and Lady Cougars will have a home opener, Nov. 10, as they host Simpson Academy for four games. Junior high kicks off the action at 4 p.m. Varsity action is set to begin at 6 p.m. in John R. Gray Gymnasium.

Lady Cougars Youthfulness 

DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Seniors playing basketball for the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars are (from left) Hillary Wilson, Mary Claire White and Anna Kathryn Smith.

DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Seniors playing basketball for the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars are (from left) Hillary Wilson, Mary Claire White and Anna Kathryn Smith.

The Lady Cougars, under the direction of second-year head coach Mack Gardner, will have to rely on their young and inexperienced players to begin the season.

BA lost all three of their seniors due to injuries early in the season. Coach Gardner expects to have them back and healthy by Christmas break.

“Injuries have hurt our depth, but it gives the younger kids a chance to get a lot of experience early in the season,” said Gardner. “We hope to get everyone healthy by Christmas and be playing our best when tournament starts in February.”

Hillary Wilson is the only returning starter back from last year’s squad. BA lost starters Anna Carollo, Caroline Stewart, Madison Warren and Lindsey Winborne to graduation. The Lady Cougars finished to season last year with 20-16 record.

Juniors Leah Case and Edie Riley will be relied on to provide leadership as BA embarks on their new season.

 Cougars’ New Leadership 

The Cougars will have a new leader, but an old familiar face walking the sideline as new head boys coach Josh Watts begins his campaign. He replaces Kyle Ray, who coached one season, leading the Cougars to a 13-9 overall record and had a 3-1 record in division action.

Watts returns to his old stomping ground, but this time as the head basketball coach. Watts knows BA’s rich basketball tradition and will bring a lot of experience to the table thanks to his dad, BA’s long-time legendary coach Dale Watts, who served for 18 seasons and seven state titles hanging in the gym.

The Cougars have four seniors, Peyton Hood, Drake Flowers, Caleb Brown and Trent Nettles, to provide leadership. BA lost starters Zac Smith and Travis Thornton to graduation.

Coach Watts stated the Cougars have several good shooters and ball handlers on the team as they plan to focus on their strong points of discipline, structure and work ethic.

BA 2014-15 Season Schedule

NOVEMBER: 4-at Jackson Academy, 10-Simpson Academy, 13-at Copiah Academy, 18-at Centreville Academy, 20-at Presbyterian Christian School, 22-Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 24-at Parklane Classic (Parklane), 25-at Parklane Classic (Oak Forest).

DECEMBER: 2-Copiah Academy, 4-at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 6-at Trinity, 9-ACCS, 12-Prentiss Christian, 13-at Pearl Classic (Terry-Girls Only), 19-Centreville Academy (Boys Only), 29-30-BA Christmas Tournament.

JANUARY: 3-Trinity, 5-Parklane, 8-at Central Hinds, 10-at Central Private, 13-Amite School Center, 16-at Prentiss Christian, 17-Salem, 20-at ACCS, 22-at Amite School Center, 24-at Tri-County Academy, 27-Central Hinds, 30-at Simpson Academy, 31-JV District Tournament at BA.

FEBRUARY: 5-7 Varsity District Tournament at Prentiss Christian, 9-14 South State AA at BA, 17-21 State AA Tournament at Canton Academy, 24-28 Overall Tournament at Mississippi College