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Cougar teams host Turkey Tourneys

Local hoops fans will have two options on Monday and Tuesday for their high school basketball consumption, as Brookhaven Academy and Lawrence County host their traditional Thanksgiving tournaments next week.

The Brookhaven Academy Tournament was long-held closer to Christmas and New Years, and was a true tournament format with brackets for winners and losers. In the recent past, it has transitioned to Thanksgiving week and features teams playing two predetermined opponents in more of a showcase style event.

The field hosted by coaches Jason Case and Josh Watts this season is a strong one, and should have competitive games throughout the two days.

On Monday, the Parklane girls and Adams County Christian School girls get play started with their matchup at 12:30 p.m. That game will then be followed by the boys from each school.

Last season, the Parklane girls made a late-season run that saw them finishing as MAIS AAAA-Division I state runners-up to Jackson Academy. The team returns much of that experience this season. The Parklane boys advanced to the semifinals of the MAIS Overall State Tournament last season and are coached by former Enterprise head coach and BHS assistant coach Josh Bass.

The Adams County Christian boys are always one of the strongest AAA teams in the state, as they finished in third place for that classification last season.

The next set of games will be Columbia Academy against Oak Forest (Louisiana) in girls and then boys.

Columbia is coached on both sides by former BA head coach Dale Watts. On Wednesday, Columbia Lady Cougar senior forward Morgan Jones signed a scholarship to play basketball next season at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The final set of games will feature the homestanding Cougars and Lady Cougars taking on the Bowling Green Buccaneers out of Franklinton, Louisiana.

Case and his defending state champion Lady Cougars are 2-1 coming into the tournament, while Watts and his squad sit at 3-0.

The Lawrence County tournament follows a similar format and has always drawn some of the best MHSAA teams in the area on a year-to-year basis. Lady Cougars head coach Vicki Rutland and head boys coach Pat Bridges both have their teams at 1-1 thus far this season.

The action begins in Monticello at 10 a.m. on Monday when the Bay High girls play East Marion. Those two schools will meet in the boys’ game to follow.

The next girls’ game will see the Wayne County Lady War Eagles take on North Pike. The Wayne County boys will then play the Tylertown boys.

The Tylertown girls will play the Brookhaven Lady Panthers before the BHS boys’ team takes on Wesson. With both boys’ teams from Wesson and Brookhaven High preferring to press the ball and play fast, their matchup may resemble a track meet at times.

The day will be capped off by both Lawrence County teams playing McComb in the finales.

The McComb girls are 3-0 this season and coming off of a 27-5 campaign last season. The only matchup for McComb and LC last season was in the semifinals of the MHSAA 4A State Tournament. Lawrence County won that game 53-38 on their way to winning the golden ball.

The Tuesday pairing at BA will include Bowling Green versus Oak Forest, Columbia Academy versus ACCS, and the Cougars closing out the tournament against Parklane.

Tuesday at Lawrence County has East Marion playing Wesson in both games, followed by two games between North Pike and Tylertown. McComb and Wayne County then play in a pair of games that should be entertaining and will be followed by the finale of rivals Brookhaven High and Lawrence County.

As always with events like these, start times can be pushed back by games finishing late or going to overtime.

Story by Cliff Furr