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Lady Cougars strike late to defeat Sparta, 52-41

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
Escambia Academy Lady Cougars' Holly Mack returned to the hardcourt Tuesday to ignite the EA offense and help lead them to an area victory over Sparta Academy, 52-41.
Though she did not start the game, Mack chose to come in during the second period after the Lady Cougars had fallen behind. Her presence on the court helped EA establish an offensive game plan that helped lead them to a comeback victory.
Sparta led the Lady Cougars through most of the game. They held EA to only six points in the opening period and went on to a nine-point advantage, 29-20, by halftime.
Slowly, the Lady Cougars began to creep back into the game and by the end of the third period, they had cut Sparta's lead to only four, 36-32.
Sparta continued to lead the Lady Cougars until Ashley Helton hit a shot with about 2:30 to go in the game to give EA their first lead, 42-41. The Lady Cougar defense did the rest as they did not give up another basket, or point, to the Sparta team.
Head coach Chad Prewett said his team needed Mack on the floor for more than just offensive purposes.
Defense also played a key role in the comeback win. Sparta was held to only 12 points in the entire second half, which gave the Lady Cougars time to catch up and, ultimately, take the lead.
Prewett said the comeback posted by the Lady Cougars does not surprise him.
Leading scorers for the Lady Cougars were Mack with 22 points, Jennifer Martin finished with 14 points and Emily Hardy chipped in six points. Martin also led the team with 14 rebounds.
The victory improves the girls' overall record to 16-5 and they are 4-0 in area play. They hosted Crenshaw Christian Academy on Friday and they will host South Montgomery Academy for their final area game of the regular season on Friday, Jan. 26.