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Playoff basketball, time to catch up

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
As local basketball teams begin hitting the court in the area and state tournaments, it offers a unique opportunity to those who have missed a season of great basketball to catch up. All the records go out the window and, for at least one game, everybody has a chance.
The Escambia Academy Lady Cougars got their second season off to a great start and the fans who made the trek to Grady for the area championship game, it was well worth it. The game was a metaphor for playoff basketball. It could have been a Hollywood movie script.
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is covering local sports and I have seen several close ones this season. But, even Northview's buzzer beater in the United Bank Classic comes in second to what the Lady Cougars did Friday night.
When I first entered the gym and looked at the score about halfway through the third period, I thought EA was winning and the other team didn't have a chance. Of course, I was wrong in more ways than one.
What I witnessed over the next 40 minutes was pure drive and determination and every girl on the team did their own part to get the job done. When Holly Mack was fouled with a chance to win it at the line, the intensity inside that small, crowded gym was evident everywhere. And when she hit them and the game ended, the exuberance and joy of EA and their fans was inspirational while the disbelief and confusion on the Sparta side was heartbreaking.
Soon, the public schools will begin their run in the playoffs. The Blue Devils have had a solid year and are coming off a huge win against Clarke County. The talent in their area is extremely close and it should be a great area tourney in Blount. Northview has improved from a dismal season last year to post a winning record and several big wins so they are ready as well.
If you're a basketball fan or a fan of local schools, take some time for yourself and try to make it to one of these games. It is basketball with everything on the line. It is basketball at its best.