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Lady Cougars win tourney; Cougars lose heartbreaker in title match

By By Lindsey Sherrill
Staff Writer
The Escambia Academy Cougar basketball team was busy last week as they took on the Faith Academy Rams on Tuesday and played in the Fort Dale Academy Thanksgiving Classic over the weekend along with Lee-Scott, Fort Dale, and Monroe Academy.
The junior varsity Lady Cougars began Tuesday evening's play as they fell to Faith 26-24. The Lady Cougars outscored Faith 12-1 in the second quarter, but could not continue the momentum throughout the rest of the game. Lori Bonds led the scoring for the Cougars as she made a strong showing with 15 points, eight rebounds, and four steals. Ellen Corman followed with four points, nine rebounds, and one steal. Courtney Smith had four points, six rebounds, and three steals. Jamie drew scored one point for the Lady Cougars along with nine rebounds and five steals.
The Escambia Academy junior varsity boys were also defeated by Faith as they fell 32-15. Cody Norton led the team with six points. Matt Ash followed with four, and Jared Vandlandingham posted three. Bruce Smith scored two points.
The varsity Lady Cougars defeated Faith 54-32, as they were led by a strong performance by the team's sole senior, Jessica Gibbs. Gibbs scored 12 points and had seven rebounds. Anna Parish, Lori Bonds, and Meagan Jackson also had good performances as they scored eight points each with seven and five rebounds for Jackson and Bonds. Kaylie Castleberry and Mandi Norton each scored seven points and had six rebounds. Rayleen Miller scored two points with three rebounds and Kerrianne Castleberry scored two points.
The varsity boys played a tight match before finally being topped by Faith, 78-70. The team played well, scoring seventeen points in the first quarter, nineteen in the second, fifteen in the third, and nineteen in the final quarter. Despite the Cougars good performances, including a 19-point, eight-rebound game for junior Robert Hardy, the Cougars could not overcome the amazing performance of Adam Roberson who scored an incredible 35 points for the Rams.
Other scorers for the Cougars included Cole Norton with 12 points and five rebounds, Chris Moore with 11 points and two rebounds, Bradford Price with 10 points and four rebounds, Zach Smith with seven points and four rebounds, David Daniel with five points and three rebounds, Jace Beasley with four points and three rebounds, and Cody White with two points.
The Cougar varsity boys and girls traveled to Fort Dale on Friday to take on Lee-Scott in the first round of the Thanksgiving tournament. The Lady Cougars began the action at 1:00 as they topped Lee-Scott 48-22. Leading the scoring for the Cougars was Gibbs with fifteen points. Jackson followed with nine points and Miller posted eight. Bonds scored six, Kaylie Castleberry scored three, and Parish, Kerrianne Castleberry, and Corman each had two. Norton rounded out the scoring with one point.
The Lady Cougars returned on Saturday to take on Fort Dale for the title of tournament champions. The Lady Cougars were able to pick up the win against the home team, as they topped Fort Dale 42-34. Kaylie Castleberry once again made a strong showing as she posted 13 points. Jackson had 11, followed by Gibbs with 10, Bonds with three, Parish and Miller with two, and Norton with one point.
The varsity boys began their tournament play with an overtime victory over Lee-Scott, 69-64. Leading the Cougars with 23 points was Price. He was followed by Hardy with 13 points, Beasley with nine, Daniel with eight, Norton with six, Moore and Smith with four each, and White with two.
The boys took on Fort Dale on Saturday, but were less successful as they were defeated 42-39. Leading the scoring for that game was Beasley with 12 points. Other scorers included Hardy with 10 points, Price with nine, Daniel and Steven Shirley with one three-point shot each, and White with two.
All four Cougar teams were in action Tuesday night in their home opener against Clarke Prep. The varsity teams will travel to take on Pike Academy on Thursday at 5 p.m., and Escambia Academy will host a junior varsity tournament on Friday. Time for the tournament has not been announced.