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EA Cougars scoot to strong season start

By By ZACH BROOKS
Sports Writer
The Escambia Academy Cougar boys and girls varsity basketball teams have begun their regular season with a bang, with the boys and girls both having winning records and looking for more.
Both teams have entered the season with high expectations and neither have been disappointing.
The Lady Cougars are off to their best start in years with a 4-1 record. The Cougar basketball team is also off to a good start, posting a 4-2 record.
The Cougars are led by all-state candidate Justin Shirley. He is the leading scorer for the Cougars, averaging 28.3 points a game.
The Cougars also have Bradford Price and Chris Moore keeping defenses honest by stroking three-pointers left and right. Front court men Jace Beasley and Cody White provide rebounds and garbage points off offensive rebounds.
The Lady Cougars are led by two outstanding players in Jennifer Martin and Holly Mack. Mack leads the team in scoring for the second straight year with 17.2 points a game. Martin is not far behind, averaging 16.5 point per game.
Jessica Gibbs and Bethany Hawkins provide low-post scoring and good rebounding for the Lady Cougars, while Anna Parrish provides good defense and passing.
The boys started off their season in great fashion by stomping Evangel Christian Academy 75-54.
The Cougars were in control of the game from the start as they jumped out to a 22-10 lead after the first quarter. The Cougars never looked back after that as they used their jump start in the first quarter to get a 75-54 win.
The leading scorer for the Cougars was Justin Shirley with 33 points. Jace Beasley followed with 14 points in the win.
The Lady Cougars opened up their season with a bang as well by clobbering Sparta Academy 63-40. The boys also played Sparta winning by a score of 72-51.
The girls game was dominated by the Cougars two-headed monster of Jennifer Martin and Holly Mack, as both players combined to score 38 of the teams 63 points.
Mack lead the team with 24 points, while Martin followed with 14 points. Jessica Gibbs also had 11 points in the win.
The boy Cougars drubbing of Sparta was finalized in the third quarter when EA broke open a close game with a 23 point outburst.
Justin Shirley lead the Cougars in scoring with 32 points. Robert Hardy and Jace Beasley followed by scoring 12 and eight points respectively.
The boys and girls played their next two games in the Ft. Dale Tournament. The girls won both their games, beating Ft. Dale 44-30 and a 50-27 drubbing of Monroe Academy.
The boys however, won one and lost one. They lost their first game of the year to Ft. Dale 66-48, but then won their next one against Bessemer Academy 66-30.
The Lady Cougars won their game against Ft. Dale behind the strong showing of Martin, Mack, and Gibbs. The game was won in the last quarter, as the Cougars exploded for 17 points while Ft. Dale could only muster 4. Mack lead the Cougars in scoring with 17 points. Martin and Gibbs followed with 13 and 8 points respectively.
The boys were not so lucky however, as they got their first loss of the season.
The Cougars fell behind early in the game and could never catch up. The Cougars fell behind 19-12 after the first quarter, and could never gain ground.
Every time the Cougars got a rally going, Ft. Dale would have an answer and pull ahead even more. Shirley lead the Cougars with 16 points in the loss.
The Lady Cougars next game was against Monroe Academy. The Lady Cougars never had a challenge in the game as they disposed of Monroe easily and began to look forward to next weeks game against Faith Academy.
Jennifer Martin lead the Lady Cougars with 18 points, while Jessica Gibbs and Bethany Hawkins followed with nine and eight points respectively.
The Cougars next game was against Bessemer Academy. The Cougars jumped out to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, scoring 26 and 17 points in the second and third quarters to put the game away.
Justin Shirley lead the Cougars with in points with 31. Jace Beasley and Robert Hardy followed with nine and eight points each.
Both teams had a dent put into their armor with a couple of key losses to Faith Academy. The Lady Cougars lost 58-39 while the Cougars lost 65-51.
The girls lost the game in the third quarter when they allowed Faith 25 points for the quarter to pull away 48-28. Holly Mack lead the way for the Cougars, scoring 17 points in the loss.
The boys never had a chance, as Faith outscored the Cougars 18-4 for the first quarter and never looked back. Justin Shirley lead the Cougars with 23 points in the loss.
The Lady Cougars and the boy Cougars went to Autauga Academy Thursday night looking for revenge. They got it, as both teams won big 70-54 and 53-48.
The Cougars broke open a close game in the second quarter with a 28 point eruption to take the lead 39-15 going into half-time.
The Cougars never looked back as they won the game 70-54. Justin Shirley had a magnificent night for the Cougars, scoring a career-high 35 points.
Chris Moore and Jace Beasley followed with 12 and nine points respectively.
The Lady Cougars game was a little bit closer as they edged out Autauga 53-48. The Lady Cougars battled Autauga all night long for the lead and the Cougars did not get the upper hand until they scored 16 points in the last quarter to Autauga's 10. Jennifer Martin nailed down big shots all night long to lead the Cougars with 22 points. Holly Mack and Bethany Hawkins followed with 14 and 8 points respectively. Both Cougar teams will play Faith on December 4th at home. The game will be for all varsity and junior varsity teams. Game time will start at 4 p.m.