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6-PEAT!!! BA boys claim sixth straight state title

INDIANOLA – Coach Dale Watts and his Brookhaven Academy Cougarswill add another state championship banner to the rafters of JohnR. Gray Gymnasium. Watts coached the Cougars to an unprecedentedsixth straight state tournament championship Saturday night,beating the Bowling Green Buccaneers 62-51 in the Class AA titlegame.

In the Saturday afternoon session, Leake Academy’s Lady Rebelsdefeated the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars 63-50 in thechampionship finals of the MAIS Class AA State BasketballTournament at Indianola Academy.

In Friday’s semifinals, BA beat Prairie View 59-53 and Leake rolledover Grenada Kirk 63-54. In Saturday’s consolation game, PrairieView defeated Kirk’s girls.

The BA girls (No. 2 AA) expect to face Trinity Episcopal of Natchez(No. 2 A) Tuesday at Mississippi College in Clinton, in the OverallTournament. The Lady Cougars defeated Trinity in the final week ofthe regular season.

Brookhaven 62, Bowling Green 51

“It was a sweet, sweet victory,” said BA boys coach Dale Watts. Histeam avenged a 61-57 loss to the Bucs in last weekend’s South StateTournament title game that was played in Brookhaven.

Watts got balanced scoring in the title test, led by SidneyChaffin’s 20 points. Jake Reed added 16 points and Jamison Powell11.

“We made a little run right before half and that was important,”said Watts. “I’m real proud of our kids for working hard andsticking with the program.”

The Cougars took an early 8-2 lead and led by six points athalftime, 29-23. “In the second half we bowed up and got with it,”Watts noted.

Watts said his team will draw an opening round bye in the overalltournament. “We will have to play three AAA teams to win thatthing.”

Watts said his team’s defensive effort was decisive. Jaron Edwardsscored 22 points against BA in last week’s championship finals lossbut senior guard Jamison Powell held Edwards to nine pointsSaturday night.

Powell helped the Cougars win a state football championship lastseason as a linebacker, adding another ring to his jewelry box.”It’s really amazing,” said Powell.

Asked about defending Edwards, Powell said, “I wanted to keep theball out of his hands. I wanted to deny him the ball because oncehe gets it, he can usually score.”

Powell claims his fifth ring, including the football statechampionship.

Chaffin, Powell, Reed and Christian Keene were named to theall-tournament team.

On the backboards, Chaffin led the way with 8 rebounds. Powellgrabbed 7 rebounds and Reed 6. Brock Smith and Keene each had 4rebounds.

Reed dished out 5 assists and Powell 3. Keene made and Smith eachhad 2 steals.

Leake 63, Brookhaven 50

Junior center Anna Katelyn Mangold led the Lady Cougars with 15points. Sophomores Terah Winborne and Laura Beth Wright followedwith 13 and 12 points respectively. All three players were named tothe All-Tournament Team.

Wright made 8 assists and Winborne 5.

The Lady Cougars (30-5) fell behind Leake 19-9 in the first quarterbut they mounted a strong comeback.

“We had a big crowd and a lot of excitement,” said BA girls coachBarry Gray. “We were a little tentative at first. Our girls showeda lot of character coming back.”

Gray’s girls reduced their deficit to 26-24 at halftime.

“Our free throw and three-point percentage must be higher against ateam like Leake,” he added. Leake won the overall championship in2009 and returned five starters.

Gray said his girls are starting a new season this week in theprestigious overall gathering. “We played hard and we’ve made thefinal eight teams in the state. We must get it backtogether.”

Leake was led by Emily Kea’s 18 points. Guard Hannah Peoples added14 points and Jenny Wilbanks 11.