EA girls win state title
By By Lori Dann
Advance Managing Editor
The Escambia Academy Lady Cougars are on top of the world.
Not only did the EA girls win their first-ever state championship Saturday, they did so by beating arch rival Clarke Prep of Grove Hill 48-37 in the championship game.
Holly Mack set the tone for the game early, hitting three three-pointers in the first period. The shots were a statement by the Lady Cougars that Grove Hill would not be able to concentrate solely on Jenifer Dykes.
With EA leading 14-8 at the end of the first, Mack added another three-pointer early in the second as the Lady Cougars went on to push their advantage to 23-12.
The Lady Cougars took a 25-16 lead into the locker room at the half, but they knew the game wasn't over.
Sure enough, Grove Hill came out with a vengeance in the third quarter. EA struggled offensively, and the Lady Gators pulled within three points at 25-22 with 3:58 to go in the third period.
Fortunately, EA broke its scoring drought with an inside bucket and then Dykes nailed a three-pointer for a 30-22 lead
Dykes also hit some key free throws in the third quarter as EA stretched its lead to 36-26 by the end of the period.
But once again, Grove Hill made a run.
EA suffered a crucial blow at the 6:40 mark when Emily Hardy injured her ankle and had to leave the game. But the Lady Cougars were able to maintain their lead until late.
As the game entered the final two minutes, Grove Hill began chipping away at the lead. With 1:10 left, they hit a three-pointer to make it 41-37 and began to foul in an attempt to get the ball back.
Seniors Amy Ridgeway and Dykes both hit one of two free throws to push the lead to six. Then, with 35.7 seconds left, Bethany Hawkins virtually sealed the win with two more free throws, making it a 45-37 game.
Dykes finished with 21 points in the contest and was 7-for-8 from the free throw line for the game. Mack added 16 points, Ridgeway had seven and Jennifer Martin and Hawkins had two each.
Maggie Keahy scored 20 points for the Lady Gators despite being double teamed most of the day.
Prewett said the EA defense was crucial to the team's win.
Following the game, Dykes was chosen the tournament MVP while Mack joined her on the all-tournament team.
EA finished the season at 27-4, the most wins in school history.