Cougars tipoff semi-final matchup of MAIS Overall tournament this afternoon

Published 10:30 am Monday, February 27, 2023

The Brookhaven Academy girls’ basketball team came into the MAIS Overall Tournament with intentions of making a run to the tittle that goes to the best team, regardless of classification, in private school basketball.

Today at 1 p.m., the Cougars get a chance to take one more step in that direction with a semifinal matchup against Presbyterian Christian School of Hattiesburg.

PCS qualified for the tournament as the runners-up in 6A behind Madison-Ridgeland Academy.

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The Bobcats lost 53-49 to MRA in the championship game and have had little opposition thus far in Overall Tournament play. PCS beat Winonna Christian 65-35 in the first round and Desoto School (Arkansas) 68-39 in the quarterfinals.

In the case of BA, the team played a strong first round opponent in Hartfield Academy, a game won 48-40 by coach Ron Kessler’s team. 

Brookhaven had four players reach double figures in the win over Hartfield. Junior guard Regan Fortenberry scored 11 points as did senior forward Emma Gates. Eighth grade guard Anne Rylea Thurman scored 10 points and senior forward Lillie Gates added 10 points of her own. 

The Gates twins made a big impact on the boards as Lillie Gates grabbed 13 boards and Emma Gates snatched nine rebounds. Lillie Gates also blocked four shots.

Sophomore Ella Smiths scored four points and sophomore forward Ainsley Orr added two points for BA in the win. 

The Cougars outrebounded the Hawks 37-30.

In the second round, Brookhaven Academy smashed Clinton Christian School 49-15.

Fortenberry scored 18 points, on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, to lead BA in the win over CCA.

Lilie Gates scored 11 points, Emma Gates scored eight points, Orr scored four points, Mallory Martin added three points, Ava Calcote scored two points, Smith scored two points and Braelynn Byrd rounded out the BA scoring with one point.

Kessler’s team owned a win over Clinton Christian from earlier in the regular season. The Cougars also have a win against Presbyterian Christian from this season too.

Brookhaven won 57-5-50 in Hattiesburg on Dec. 10.

The 5A champions from Brookhaven have now won 19 games in a row and have a record of 41-3. 

Addyson Sherer is one of the top players for PCS this season as a junior guard and has scored over 2,000 career points. Limiting good looks at at the basket for Sherer was a big part of BA getting the win in the first meeting between the schools.