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EA Lady Cougars start the night off right

By By Larry Bonds, Special to the Advance
The Lady Cougars would face their stiffest competition of the season in Springwood Academy's Lady Wildcats with a record of 22-2. Springwood would have the height advantage but Escambia would have the speed and defense to counteract it. At the end of the first quarter EA lead I2-7, but Springwood, a team that never quit would battle back and close the margin to 2 at the half, 23-2I. E.A.'s ladies came out of the locker room on fire and jumped to a 12 point lead before Springwood came storming back and trailed 39-35 heading Into the fourth quarter. The Lady Cougars would put the game away late in the fourth with a scoring spree that would not be answered by the Lady Wildcats as E.A. claimed the victory. Senior point guard Anna Parrish dished out 8 assists on offense and with her tenacious defense recorded 20 deflections, 5 steals and 2 rebounds in her final game as a Lady Cougar. Senior forward Mandi Norton would make her final game as a Lady Cougar one to remember, as she would hit 3 of 3 free throws when It counted most in the fourth quarter. During the game Norton also had 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 10 deflections, 7 points and 1 blocked shot to gain her place on the Final Four All Tournament Team. Junior guard, Meagan Jackson's all-around play and hustle would contribute 7 boards, 1 deflections, 2 steals, 1 blocked shot, 1 assist, and 14 points (9 in the third quarter). Junior Kayfie Castleberry with her presence on the floor always being felt would score 7 points, have 2 steals, grab 10 rebounds, and have 1 deflection. Castleberry would also be named to the All-Tournament Team. Sophomore guard Lori Bonds with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 deflections, 1 steal, and 26 points would hit 7 straight free throws in the fourth quarter to help ice the game for the Lady Cougars and allow her to be named the Most Valuable Player of the Final Four Tournament.
First off the bench, playing as starters, Junior Rayleen Miller contributed 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 deflections and sophomore speedster Allison Thomas added 3 points, 8 deflection, 2 steals and 1 assist. Rounding out the team, Junior Kerrianne Castleberry (6 points in Thursday night's game), sophomore Ellen Corman (1 rebound), freshman Katie Smith (1 assist), and eighth-grader Clare Jones (1 point) would all see action in the Final Four tournament. Sophomore Jaime Drew, out with a knee injury, always cheering her team on, kept stats and supported the team's victory from the bench.