Cougars win first game of season

Published 10:59 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Head Coach Ron Kessler had one week to practice with his full basketball squad before Monday nights season opener for Brookhaven Academy. The Cougars showed signs of gelling together in a 58-48 win over East Rankin Academy to open the season.

Ella Smith lead the team in scoring with 21 points. Anne Rylea Thurman had 13 points and Ainsley Orr scored 10 on the evening. Orr worked hard inside the paint for those points but did so with a smile. Kessler said Reagan Fortenberry got into foul trouble early which allowed players to come in off of the bench and be productive.

“We had good production from the bench,” Kessler said. “Zoey Cade and Ella Gage came in and gave us good minutes. Anytime you can go to the bench and get production it is a good thing,”

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Cade finished the night with six points and Gage scored four.

Brookhaven Academy gave up 16 points in the last quarter after going into the final frame with a 16 point lead. A 10 point run in the second quarter helped the Cougars widen their lead.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted. Things to work on we just didn’t take care of basketball. We were up 19 points. We have to take care of the basketball,” Kessler said. “We had some good moments tonight. We missed some free throws. We have to do better. Their energy was good on defense.”

Kessler said no one wants to be clicking on all cylinders to start the season. BA will have room to grow as the team continues to learn how to play together and mesh.

Brookhaven Academy will host the second day of basketball action tomorrow in the Lady Cougar Tip-Off Classic.

East Rankin will play Amite School Center at 4 p.m. followed by Oak Forest vs Bens Ford at 5:15 p.m., Bowling Green vs Copiah at 6:30 p.m. and Brookhaven vs Simpson Academy at 7:45 p.m.

“Simpson is well coached. They have disciplined players with a lot of energy,” Kessler said. “They are quick and really fast. They will present a lot of challenges for us. We have to defend and box out. We were out rebounded tonight. If we can box out and rebound I think we will be fine tomorrow night.”