By Robert Wilson
The Presbyterian Christian School girls scored seven points in the last 90 seconds, including Merritt Johnson’s layup with 2.5 seconds to play, to defeat Brookhaven Academy 35-34 Monday afternoon in the MAIS Overall Tournament semifinals at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Class 6A state runner-up PCS improved to 33-5 and avenged a 57-50 loss to Brookhaven Academy Dec. 10 at home in Hattiesburg. PCS plays 6A state champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 30-7 and a 58-43 winner over Leake Academy in the other semifinal, Wednesday at 6 p.m. for the Overall championship at MC. PCS lost to MRA in two of the three meetings, including a 53-49 decision in the 6A state tournament at Hattiesburg. PCS’s other two losses were to MHSAA Class 6A teams Harrison Central and Hancock. PCS has won two Overall titles in its history, in 2008 and 2014, both coached by Missy Bilderback, now coach at Jones County Junior College, led by sisters Katye and Trista Magee.
Class 5A state champion Brookhaven Academy finished 41-4 and broke an 18-game winning streak.
Brookhaven Academy looked like it was going to reach the championship game with a 34-28 lead with 2 minutes to play. But PCS senior forward Meyah Doyle made two free throws and junior point guard Addyson Sherer made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 34-33 with 17.6 seconds play, then Sherer stole a pass, which led to Johnson’s game winning layup – her only points of the game – with 2.5 seconds to play.
“We didn’t quit when we were down by 6,” PCS coach Drew Smith said. “It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves and give up, but we didn’t. We kept fighting and created some big turnovers that led to points. Addyson hit a huge shot and then stole a pass that led to Merritt’s winning shots. Meyah Doyle, Ann Elise Waters, and Merritt were tremendous on defense against Brookhaven’s post players. All of that combined for an improbable comeback win.”
Sherer led PCS with 16 points. Doyle had 12 points.
Junior Reagan Fortenberry had a game-high 17 points for Brookhaven.
“Addyson Sherer is one of the best guards in the state of Mississippi and she showed that today by carrying her team early for 10 first-half points and being so huge for her team down the stretch knocking down a monster three with less than 30 seconds to go,” Brookhaven coach Ron Kessler said. “Having a weapon of that caliber on the floor is a coach’s dream and she delivered for her team today.
“I am extremely proud of our Lady Cougars and the season they just finished. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but I told them after the game that this heartbreaking loss in no way defines the amazing state championship year they had. We started together and we finished together giving God glory for every bit of it.”