Lady Cougars roll past Lowndes Academy, 54-18
By By Paul Keane
Escambia Academy's varsity girls basketball team held Lowndes Academy scoreless for 11 minutes, 37 seconds, going on a 25-0 run in the process to take a 54-18 win over L.A. in the championship game of the 2A East Area 1 Tournament at home Friday night.
The victory improved the Lady Cougars' record to 23-3 overall and propels them to a regional matchup against a to-be-named opponent next weekend. EA will play for a chance to advance to the Class 2A Final Four Friday at 9 a.m. at Faulkner University in Montgomery.
Escambia jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter, stretching that to 21-10 by the intermission before putting together the stellar run that iced the game.
At halftime, we talked about continuing our pressure," said EA head coach Chad Prewett. "We also emphasized getting the rebounds and getting good outlet passes to help our break run smoother.
"You're going to win a lot of games when you shut people out for 11-1/2 minutes. Because of that, we got to play nine or 10 girls in our rotation tonight, and that will help us build some confidence heading into the regional tournament. I think this was a big confidence builder for us tonight."
After taking a 9-2 lead with 2:43 left in the opening stanza, EA's Meagan Jackson connected on a three-point play to make it 12-2 heading into the second quarter.
Jackson then scored on a put back and added a short jumper to open up a 16-2 lead with 4:11 left in the first half. A pair of free throws from Lori Bonds made it 18-4 with 2:38 remaining, and then Jessica Gibbs hit the back end of a pair of free throws to make it 19-4. After Gibbs added two more free throws to make it 21-6, the Lady Cougars went into a stall offense, milking the clock after Jessica St. Cin hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 21-8. St. Cin would hit a short jumper at the buzzer to cut the margin to 21-10 at the intermission.
It was after the intermission that the home team took full control of the contest.
Bonds got things rolling with a pair of free throws, then Gibbs hit a jumper Bonds added a field goal to open up a 27-10 lead with 5:35 left in the third period. Jamie Drew hit a free throw, followed by jumpers from Kay Castleberry, Drew, Gibbs and Jackson, giving the home team a 36-10 bulge with 2:38 left in the stanza. Jackson would add a pair of free throws and a field goal to make it 40-10 heading into the final period.
Jackson's two free throws, combined with field goals from Gibbs and Drew, made it a 46-10 contest with 4:39 remaining. That's when St. Cin scored on a short jumper, ending the drought for the visiting team at the 4:23 mark and cutting the deficit to 46-12.
From there, the two teams traded buckets, with Shelby Hester hitting a three-pointer to make it 52-16 with 2:22 left, and the Lady Cougars substituted freely while getting ready for regional play.
For the night, Jackson led the way with 15 points while Gibbs added 14. Bonds contributed eight while Allison Thomas and Drew each had five points.