Lady Cougars down CA, stay perfect in 4-AA

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2003

CENTREVILLE &045; It’s not very often you see a team from top-to-bottom as fundamentally sound as Brookhaven Academy’s girls.

Centreville head coach John Brashier knew this heading into Friday night’s matchup and got the message repeated to him through four periods of basketball, as the Lady Cougars got out early and never looked back.

Three Brookhaven (30-1, 12-0 MPSA District 4-AA) players reached double figures in scoring, led by Anna Gatlin’s 19 in the 57-35 triumph of the Lady Tigers.

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&uot;Our girls are still sort of intimidated by these types of (powerhouse) teams,&uot; Brashier said. &uot;It certainly hurts, but it’s not as bad since the seeding for the district tournament was already in place. But if we play like that, we won’t go far in the tournament.&uot;

After the Lady Cougars stormed Centreville (12-9, 7-5 MPSA district 4-AA) on offense in the game’s opening minutes, all Brashier could hope for was for a close game.

His team responded, by cutting an 8-point deficit in half, 8-4, on a Jenae Jackson layup with 4:32 in the first period.

But by period’s end the lead morphed back up to eight, as Lauren Smith got inside the Lady Tigers’ defense for a bucket high off the window with 2 seconds remaining.

&uot;I’ve had these girls for five years and they are really comfortable in the system we have in place,&uot; said Brookhaven head coach Barry Gray, the brother of ACCS boys’ coach Ricky Gray.

&uot;Unless we start doing a multitude of things, our experience gives us an advantage over most teams.&uot;

And Brashier adds the Lady Cougars are too athletic with many, versatile weapons for most foes.

But Brookhaven’s main tool in the second period Friday was post Anna Gatlin, who had her way with Jackson for most of the first half.

Gatlin scored the last three buckets for the Lady Cougars in the half’s final 93 seconds, capping off an 11-point second period.

On 8-of-11 shooting from the field, Gatlin dropped in all 19 of her points in the first half, as Jackson defended the post much better in the final 16 minutes, blocking three of Gatlin’s attempts.

&uot;I told Jenae that she was letting her (Gatlin) back her in and it made it hard for Jenae to get position,&uot; Brashier said. &uot;They (Brookhaven) probably made maybe two shots from outside of 10 feet in the first half. They really exploited the middle.&uot;

If there was any doubt Brookhaven would hop back on the bus with a win, it quickly vanished with a 10-0 run to open the third period.

A pair of baskets from Mallory Logan and a hat trick from Lauren Smith pushed the lead near 30, 47-19.

&uot;Coach Gray kept his press on until a minute to go, but that’s basketball,&uot; Brashier said. &uot;I’m glad he did that. Some coaches might get mad, but it just makes us to continue to work hard.&uot;

Jackson led the Lady Tigers with 13 points and Anna Goudeau chipped in with 10 on Senior Night at Centreville.

Despite the game’s final outcome, Gray said Centreville is one of his least favorite district matchups because of its speed and agility.

&uot;They (Centreville) are probably the fastest team we’ve played at the point position,&uot; Watts said. &uot;Centreville is really capable of making it to the state tournament. On any given night they can beat any team.&uot;

The Lady Tigers are off until the 4-AA tournament next weekend, which will be held at Columbia Academy. Centreville is the third seed.