EA Cougars place third in New Years tourney
Published 5:22 am Wednesday, January 2, 2002
By By ZACH BROOKS
The Escambia Academy Cougars played in the New Years Eve Tournament held at home last weekend and came out with a hard-fought third place finish.
The New Years Eve Tournament had four teams: Autuaga Academy, Escambia Academy, Faith Academy, and Coosa Valley Academy.
The Cougars began the tournament by playing Autuaga Academy in their first game.
The Cougars lost to Autuaga 62-52 in a game that was dominated by the strong play of Autuaga's Zach Golson in the final quarter.
Golson had 11 of his game leading 18 points in the final period to put the Cougars away.
The Cougars looked like they were on the right track at the start of the game, as they took a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
The Cougars also got a strong showing in the second quarter as they lead by three points, 28-25, heading into half-time.
The game started to unravel for the Cougars after half-time, as Autauga came out of half-time and stole the lead from the Cougars, 43-38, heading into the final period.
The Cougars could not regain the lead in the final period because of Golson's strong play, so they went down by ten, 62-52.
"They won the game in the third quarter," Escambia Academy Head Coach Chad Prewitt said. "And we could not contain Golson in the fourth quarter, so we could come back."
The Cougars were not helped at all by an 18-10 run early in the third quarter, when the Cougars could not get anything going on offense.
The Cougars were atrocious from the free-throw line shooting only 23% from the line on 3/13 shooting.
Justin Shirley was the leading scorer for the Cougars with 16 points on the night. Bradford Price and Cole Norton also had 10 for the Cougars in the loss.
The next game the Cougars would play was against Coosa Valley Academy. The Cougars had to win the game against Coosa Valley to the chance to play Faith Academy in the final game for the Championship.
The Cougars won by 16 over Coosa Valley 69-53, in a game in which Coosa Valley actually lead after the first quarter 18-16.
The first quarter was well played for both teams, as both teams shot and rebounded the ball well, as the 18-16 score will tell you.
The second quarter was no different for both teams as they both had good quarters and were tied going into half-time at 33-33.
The Cougars really pulled away in the third quarter, by scoring 20 points to Coosa Valley's 10, to gain the 53-43 lead heading into the final period.
Coosa Valley failed to regain the lead in the fourth quarter, so the Cougars won the game 69-53.
Justin Shirley had a game leading 21 points for the Cougars in the win. Robert Hardy also had 12 points for the Cougars.
"To win, we really need Justin to get around 20 points, and have other guys get 10-12 points," Prewitt said. "If we do that, then we should be in pretty good shape to win."
The Cougars were alot better in this game at the free-throw line, shooting 67% on 10/15 shooting.
The leading scorers for Coosa Valley were Luke Baker with 19 points and Zach Rutledge with 16 points.
In thier final game of the tournament, the Cougars played Faith Academy in the Championship game.
The Cougars did not play well at all, and were murdered by Faith 68-27. The Cougars also took another big blow after the defeat, with the news that leading scorer Justin Shirley had sustained a very bad ankle sprain and would be out of action for 2-3 weeks. Shirley sprained his ankle in the second quarter.
The game was never close, as Faith took a 19-10 lead after the first quarter and a 32-12 lead going into half-time.
The third quarter was no different for the Cougars as Faith 18 points after half-time to take a 50-17 lead heading into the final period.
The Cougars just tried to get some younger guys some playing time in the fourth quarter as Faith earned the win 68-27.
Bradford Price led the Cougars in points with seven points in the loss. Cole Norton also had five points for the Cougars.
Trey Strickland and Patrick Bell lead Faith in points with 16 and 15 points respectively.