Chiefs corral Cougars, 58-45
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
Escambia Academy put up a good fight in their final regular season battle, but in the end the Northview High School Chiefs' size proved to be too much for the Cougars as they fell by a score of 58-45.
The meeting was the first between the two schools and it was Escambia Academy's second contest, and second loss, against a Florida public school this season.
Northview used their height and speed to pull down rebounds and force turnovers on the way to the victory, while the Cougars hustled to keep the game close.
Despite the final score, EA head coach Chad Pruett was pleased with how his team performed.
He was especially pleased with the play and leadership of senior Josh Davis.
Ray Hale got things going for the Chiefs early on with a three-pointer and Jason Gillies added another tray to put Northview on top 8-2 early in the first period. But, the shooting of Davis helped the Cougars cut the lead to 8-6. Daryl Cohen added another three-pointer for the Chiefs as they went on to take a 17-11 lead at the end of the period.
Northview's Mandel Smith warmed up in second period as he accounted for the nine of the Chiefs 11 points in the second period. But, fouls helped EA as they hit five of eight free throws in the period to remain within striking distance of the Chiefs, 28-20.
The defenses took over in the third period. But a dunk by Alvin Hayes and the speed of Hale helped add to the Chiefs lead. Daniel Alaniz accounted for all of the Cougars' offense – hitting a three pointer and a field goal. But, by the end of the period, Northview had built an 11-point lead, 36-25.
It appeared the Cougars were down for the count half way through the fourth period as they built an 18-point lead, 48-30. Then EA took advantage of Northview's foul trouble, which has haunted the Chiefs at times this season, as they went to the line five times down the stretch, sinking eight of ten free throws to help them get back in the game. But, the Cougars were never able to break a ten-point deficit as the clock ran out with the score 58-45.
Pruett said he felt the game would help his team as they enter the area tournament this weekend at South Montgomery Academy.
Leading scorers for EA were Davis with 13 and Alaniz with 9. Davis also finished the game with 11 rebounds – a season high for him.
The Chiefs will play their final area game of the season as they host Walton Friday.