Last-second layup sinks Brookhaven Academy in Overall semifinals

Published 3:18 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

It looked for a moment like all the momentum was on the side of Brookhaven Academy on Monday afternoon in its MAIS Overall Tournament semifinal game with Presbyterian Christian School of Hattiesburg.

The Cougars had a 34-28 lead with just over 60 seconds left and had possession of the ball.

Just like that though, the momentum switched to the Bobcats and culminated with a layup by junior Merritt Johnson that gave PCS a 35-34 win.

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BA senior forward Lillie Gates was fouled by Presbyterian with 9.8 seconds left.

PSC junior guard Addyson Sherer grabbed a missed free-throw on the front end of a 1-and-1 and dribbled into the frontcourt.

Sherer is the leading scorer for her team and had multiple Brookhaven Academy defenders running at her to stop her drive towards the basket.

That allowed Johnson to slip unseen under the goal for the open game-winner. It was the only basket of the game for Johnson. Sherer finished with 16 points.

Turnovers hurt Brookhaven Academy as they gave the ball up 17 times as opposed to PCS with nine turnovers.

BA outrebounded Presbyterian Christian by a 23-17 margin.

The Bobcats led 14-8 at halftime.

Brookhaven was led by 17 points from junior guard Reagan Fortenberry. She went 3-of-3 from the 3-point line.

A 5-0 run in the final 30 seconds of the third quarter put BA ahead 20-19 heading into the final eight minutes of play in A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College.

A deep 3-pointer by eighth grader Anne Rylea Thurman and a layup by Fortenberry gave the Cougars a jolt and the one-point lead just before the third quarter buzzer.

That lead grew to 30-23 after another Fortenberry steal and layup early in the fourth quarter.

The game was the second meeting of the season for the schools, as BA won 57-50 on Dec. 10 in Hattiesburg.

Thurman scored five points, Lillie Gates scored five points, Ella Smith scored three points, Mallory Martin scored two points and Emma Gates added two points for Brookhaven Academy in the loss.

Brookhaven Academy and coach Ron Kessler end the season with a 41-4 overall record and as the MAIS 5A champions.

PCS (33-5), coached by Drew Smith, were the runners-up in 6A. They’ll face either Madison-Ridgeland Academy or Leake Academy in the Overall finals on Wednesday.