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Cougars overpower Porter’s Chapel at home

Brookhaven Academy head coach Josh Watts is happy to have his football players back. Juniors Trey Fortenberry, Dylan Fortenberry, Rob Johnson, Gage Brown and August Sullivan along with sophomores Michael Watts, John Rivers Brown and Tyler Fortenberry joined the team after the football season ended Friday and had one practice under their belts before the Cougars hosted Porter’s Chapel Tuesday night.

That said, Watts wasn’t particularly pleased with much else after a 63-28 win in John R. Gray Gymnasium.

“The only good thing about tonight was the final score,” said Watts. “We’ve got a long way to go as a team.”

The Cougars led 18-5 at the end of the first quarter and 41-14 at halftime. PCA dressed out nine players and had one man go down with a knee injury. They were must smaller in roster size, height and girth compared to the Cougars.

The Cougars graduated four seniors last season with a trio of Dawson Flowers, Cade Brown and Tanner Thurman having played for Watts since they were in junior high. That group needed little coaching as they knew exactly what their leader wanted from them.

That group was the core of back-to-back MAIS AA championships for the school.

This season starting point guard Britton Nelson is one of two seniors on the team and his role will change as he’ll be counted on to score more after being a distributer last season.

He showed he’s capable of that when the Cougars beat Amite School Center last week and Nelson went for over 30 points in the win.

Junior Gavin Brogden is another piece of the puzzle that Watts is counting on for offensive production this season. Brogden played at the school in junior high before moving to Texas during his sophomore season. A bouncy scorer with a quick first step, Brogden scored 13 points to lead the team Tuesday night.

Joining Nelson and Brogden in the starting lineup was the Fortenberry trio. Dylan, also a transfer to the school this season from Texas, is a 6-foot-3 forward who plays on the wing. Brothers Tyler and Trey pair up inside with 6-foot-4 Tyler playing the trail-four position and 6-foot-5 Trey playing center.

That front line will be bigger than many of the MAIS teams that BA will face this season, but Watts still wants them to play fast as the primary and secondary break are an important part of his offense. Tuesday with the football players not yet in basketball shape, the pace wasn’t as quick as he’d like.

A second unit of senior Piker Ratliff along with Watts, Sullivan, Johnson, and Brown began subbing 5-for-5 early in the game with the starters.

“I was happy with the hustle that Piker Ratliff and Gage Brown showed,” said Watts. “Those were two guys that were giving their full effort.”

Tyler Fortenberry scored nine points and Nelson chipped in seven. Landon Banes and Trey Fortenberry scored five points each. Brown, Carter Watson and Dane Flowers scored four points apiece. Rob Johnson scored three points while Dylan Fortenberry, Ratliff, Watts and Brown all scored two points each. Sullivan rounded out the BA scoring with one point.

“You’re going to make mistakes anytime you’re playing after only one practice together, but I thought we had more intensity yesterday in our first 15 minutes of practice than we did tonight in a home game,” said Watts. “I’m confident that’s going to change.”

The Cougars are next at home on Nov. 21 against Simpson Academy. SA beat BA last week 48-45. The Cougars then host their Thanksgiving tournament on Nov. 25-26.

Local fans who want to see BA in Gray Gymnasium should do so soon as the team plays Copiah at home on Dec. 3 and then doesn’t have another home game until Jan. 3 when they host Presbyterian Christian.