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Devils escape Chiefs, 63-53

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
The Escambia County Blue Devils used their speed and defense to overcome a comeback effort by the Northview Chiefs, 63-53.
The win marked the third time this season the Devils had beat Northview although the latest score was much closer than the previous two.
Early in the game it was all Escambia County as they opened up to a 15-4 lead after one period. Alvin Hayes was the only player for the Chiefs to sink a bucket in the period while Barrett Finney earned seven points for ECHS in the period.
The score could have been much worse for the Chiefs as the Blue Devils ended the first period three of 12 from the free throw line.
By the midpoint of the second period, ECHS was rolling with a 21-point lead, 32-11. But, Northview began to make a move down the stretch as they outscored the Blue Devils 9-2 in the last three minutes of the half to make the score 34-20.
The Chiefs continued their roll into the third period. Northview began the period by outscoring ECHS 10-5 and cutting the Devils' lead to only seven, 39-32. The third period ended with the Devils leading, 46-36.
Things tightened in the fourth as Northview's Ray Hale started the period with a tray to cut the Devils' lead to only seven, 46-39. But, that was as close as the Chiefs came to the Devils who went on an 11-3 run to increase their lead back to 15 points, 57-42. Daryl Cohen hit two three-pointers down the stretch for the Chiefs and Anthony McCants highlighted the final minutes of the game with two dunks for Northview. But, the Devils were able to hold on to their lead as the game ended with the score 63-53.
Blue Devils head coach Bob Zarahn said Northview's comeback was not a surprise to him or his players.
Leading scorers for the Devils were Anthony McCants and Barrett Finney with 11 points each. Sharrell Johnson and Ricky Craft finished with nine points each.
For the Chiefs, Daryl Cohen had a good game leading all scorers with 22 points. Mandel Smith finished the game with 14 points.
Northview head coach Jason Gillies said he was pleased with the overall effort of his team.
The victory gives the Blue Devils an overall record of 17-6. They will travel to Blount for an important area contest Saturday night.
The Chiefs' record falls to 11-8. They will travel to Freeport on Friday.
ECHS 72, Jackson 56
The Blue Devils was the recipient of another early lead on Friday, Jan. 12 as they defeated Jackson, 72-56.
Defense helped ECHS jump out to a 21-6 lead after one period. They outscored Jackson 16-11 in the second period to take a 37-17 lead into halftime.
Jackson went on to outscore the Devils in the final two periods. But, the Devils held on to their lead and secured their 16th victory of the season.
Leading scorers for ECHS were Steven Moore with 18, James Nickson with 13 and Craft finished with 13.
NHS 36, Walton 53
The Chiefs were out-manned when they traveled to Walton over the weekend as they brought home a 53-36 area loss.
The Chiefs' poor shooting helped Walton secure the victory as Northview scored in the double digits in only one period.
Walton jumped out to a 15-7 lead after one period. They added to the lead in the second period as they outscored the Chiefs, 11-8, to take a 26-15 lead into halftime.
The third period saw the Walton lead swell as they outscored the Chiefs 16-8 to make the score 42-23 going into the fourth period. The Chiefs finished strong, outscoring Walton 13-11. But, Walton's lead was safe as they went on to claim the area victory.
Gillies said his team needed to get back to the fundamentals that made them a strong during the first month of the season.