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Brookhaven Academy gets tough in 60-22 win

Brookhaven Academy’s physical style of defense beat down and wore out the Silliman Wildcats Monday night, allowing the Cougars triple the scoring opportunities on their way to a 60-22 victory.

While both teams opened with high-scoring first quarters, Brookhaven Academy was able to dig out a substantial lead and send fresh Cougars into the game, keeping their scoring tempo high while the Wildcats dropped off to just a bucket here and there for the rest of the game. The Cougars ran hard to capitalize on fast-break opportunities while the speed of their get-back defense forced Silliman to drive and shoot through a forest of hands and arms.

“They’re a good offensive team, but our coach preaches playing defense. And when the coach tells you do something, you do it,” said senior Luke Jackson.

BA led 19-12 at the end of the first quarter and pulled away, far away, after that. While the Cougars scored 13, 16 and 12 in each of the next three quarters, Silliman managed only two points in the second quarter, five points in the third and three points in the final quarter.

Usually such a blowout comes when a team’s offense can’t penetrate, but Silliman found gaps between Cougars and pushed into the lane all night — it just couldn’t make shots fall with Cougars joined at every Wildcat’s hip.

“We work on defense, and we work on being intense. We make sure every shot is contested,” said junior Dawson Flowers.

Cougar seniors Tate Felder and Cade Hodges led BA in scoring with 10 points each — all Felder’s points came in the first quarter, where he hit a pair from the three-point arch and one bucket, while Hodges’ points included three free throws in the first quarter and a three ball in the second.

Senior Ethan Nations scored two buckets in the first quarter and two in the third for eight points on the night. Flowers scored seven and Jackson scored five, and five other Cougars got on the scoreboard throughout the night.

“We still have a lot of things to improve on — a lot of us just got back from football, so not all our shots are falling. We’re not in shape yet,” Flowers said.

Head coach Josh Watts said his team did a good job passing the ball and getting clean shots on the basket, but he also thinks the Cougars need to improve as they move into December.

“I still say we have to get better defensively. We depend so much on help-side defense right now a really good shooter could hurt us,” he said.

The victory moves BA to 5-4 on the season, with the next game scheduled for Tuesday at Copiah Academy.