Lady Cougars take second in Fort Dale Tournament
By By Lori Dann
The Escambia Academy basketball teams followed up two emotional home wins over No.1 Fort Dale with disappointing results in the Ft. Dale Invitational Tournament.
The Lady Cougars actually appeared to have the tournament championship sewed up, leading Fort Dale 48-41 at the end of the third quarter in Saturday's tournament championship game. However, the home court advantage did in EA as Fort Dale went to the free throw line 19 times in the final eight minutes and the Lady Cougars didn't go once.
The result was a 59-56 loss to the defending state champs that was hard for EA coach Chad Prewett to swallow.
"We had control of the game until the very end," he said. "The girls played hard. We just made some mistakes at the end that you can't make against a good team like Fort Dale. That's what happens sometimes when you play a lot of young girls."
EA trailed 58-56 in the closing seconds of the game and went for the win with a three-pointer. But the final shot was off the mark, and Fort Dale added a late free throw to provide the final margin of victory.
Jenifer Dykes led three EA players in double figures with 18 points in the contest. She also had seven rebounds and four assists. But an even bigger factor offensively for the Lady Cougars was the performance of their post players, Jessica Gibbs and Jennifer Martin, who combined for 30 points and 18 rebounds. Gibbs, just a freshman, scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Martin had her best game of the season with 13 points and seven rebounds. Martin was 9-for-11 from the free throw line for the game.
Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Cougars were Bethany Hawkins with four points and Amy Ridgeway and Holly Mack with two each.
EA advanced to the finals by defeating No. 6 Kingwood Christian 61-51 on Friday. The Lady Cougars took an early 16-9 lead in that contest and extended their advantage to as many as 23 points before Prewett emptied the bench.
Dykes again led the scoring with 13 points, in addition to eight steals. Mack had 12 points, Carmen Smith had eight, Ridgeway had seven, Emily Hardy had six, Hawkins and Gibbs had five each and Martin had three.
Gibbs was the top rebounder with eight board, and Hardy added seven. Ridgeway contributed three assists.
"Carmen Smith really had a great game for us," Prewett said. "She was 4-for-4 from the free throw line and she played real well. Everyone on the team played pretty well, actually, and we played a lot of people."
Published Dec. 1, 1999