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Lady Cougars slip past Hillcrest, BA boys’ team knocked out in final seconds

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars played a pair of close games Wednesday at Oak Forest in the MAIS 4A South State Tournament.

In the opening girls’ game, the Lady Cougars clawed their way to a 46-45 overtime win over Hillcrest Christian School (12-16).

The boys’ game was just as close but this time the Cougars were on the wrong end of a 46-44 season ending loss to Hartfield Academy (19-7).

Double-double by Gates powers BA offense

The top seed from District 4-4A, the Lady Cougars (23-10) were led freshman forward Lillie Gates in their win over HCS. Gates scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds before fouling out with four minutes remaining.

Sophomore guard Madison Moak was the only other Lady Cougar in double figures with 11 points. Sophomore point guard Anne Brantley Warren added eight points and sophomore forward Emily Claire Felder scored six points. Junior Makayla Martin chipped in three points while Bailee Goodson and Abby Grace Richardson rounded out the BA scoring with two points apiece.

BA led 8-7 after the first quarter, 18-15 at halftime and 29-28 after three quarters. The game was tied at 39 all after regulation.

The Lady Cougars did themselves no favors handling the ball as they committed 26 turnovers. They also missed a combine21 free throws as a team.

Winning the turnover battle, making free throws and blocking out on the boards have been the three main themes that first year coach Ron Kessler has preached to his team this season.

All three of those phases will be extremely important tonight for the Lady Cougars in their semifinal game against Hartfield Academy (25-4). Hartfield eliminated host Oak Forest 64-44 in the late game Wednesday.

The Lady Hawks are big at every position. Former Lady Cougar great Trudy Case Dawkins serves as an assistant for Hartfield.

“Hartfield is fast and super-athletic,” said Kessler. “We’re going to try and not get into a track meet with them. We need to be very deliberate and patient to handle their pressure and not turn it over.”

Both BA, Hartfield and the other semifinalists — Simpson Academy and Silliman Institute, —will play next week in the MAIS 4A State Tournament hosted by Hartfield.

Tip off tonight at Oak Forest in Amite City, Louisiana is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

Hartfield goes ahead of BA in final seconds

In the boys’ game Hartfield was able to hold for the final shot as they ran 50 seconds off the clock in a 44-44 game.

With 2.6 seconds remaining senior guard Hill Savell drove to the goal and went up and under three BA defenders to score the game-winning basket.

BA coach Josh Watts called a timeout but a shot at the buzzer by BA was no good.

Sophomore forward Tyler Fortenberry led BA with 20 points. Junior Dylan Fortenberry added 15 points. Senior point guard Britton Nelson added seven points and junior forward Trey Fortenberry scored two points for the Cougars.

Hartfield will next face Simpson Academy while Oak Forest meets Hillcrest Christian in the other semifinal.

Nelson and Piker Ratcliff are the lone seniors for BA. The Cougars end their season with a 22-9 overall record.