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Devils knock off third-ranked Clarke County in overtime

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
The Escambia County Blue Devils surprised 4A's third-ranked Clarke County when Ricky Craft hit a short jumper to tie the game at 41 with seconds to go and then completely shocked them by outscoring them 9-8 in overtime to complete the upset.
Neither team could get a scoring streak going against their opponent as it remained close throughout. In fact, the largest lead throughout the game was posted by ECHS when they took a three-point lead, 22-19, into halftime.
Both teams exchanged baskets through the first period with ECHS taking a one point lead, 10-9, by the end of the period. Total offense was almost identical in the second period with the Devils doubling their score to 22 while Clarke County could only come up with nine points.
But, they battled back in the third and outscored the Devils 14-10 to take a one-point lead into the final period.
In the fourth, the teams continued to exchange baskets and with ten seconds left, Clarke County nailed a shot to take a two-point lead. The Devils quickl got the ball to Craft who hit the tie-producing shot with six seconds left on the clock. As Clarke County attempted to inbound the ball for one last attempt to win it, Craft jumped in front of the pass and forced the game into overtime.
Once again, the two teams battled back and forth. Barret Finney helped the Devils' cause as he went three of four from the foul line. But, the game remained close until ECHS hit the final shot.
Clarke County entered the game with a record of 21-2. Devils' Head Coach Bob Zarahn said the win is a big boost for his team which is about to enter postseason play.
Leading scorer for the Blue Devils was Craft with 22 points. Finney led the way along the boards as he pulled down ten rebounds.
Overall, it was the ECHS defense that kept them in the game as they forced Clarke County to commit 26 turnovers.
ECHS 63, WSNHS 42
The Devils dominated W.S. Neal on Friday night, 63-42.
The ECHS defense held Neal to only three points in the first period while their offense rattled off 17 points. Neal's offense came around a little in the second, but ECHS went on to dominate their county rival.
Leading scorers for ECHS were Anthony McCants and James Nickson with 12 and Craft chipped in ten points.
The two wins give the Devils a 20-8 overall record on the season. They traveled to Frisco City to play their final regular season contest on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils will begin area tournament play as they travel to Blount to play Robertsdale in the first round at 6 p.m. If the Devils win, they will play the winner of the Blount and Citronelle game. If they lose, their season is over.
The Devils have split with Robertsdale in their two regular season contests.