Lady Cougars down Sparta to claim crown

Published 3:41 am Monday, February 7, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
After a dominating performance in the Alabama Independent School Association's Area 1 Tournament, the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars now stand poised to defend their state championship.
"We're excited to be back," Lady Cougar coach Heath Gibson said. "We've got four days to prepare and we're going to have to get ready. But I think we're playing very well right now and I like our chances."
The Lady Cougars hosted the tournament by virtue of winning the regular season title and will travel to Huntingdon College in Montgomery next week to participate in the Elite Eight.
Gibson said he felt his team was just as hungry for another title.
"These girls work very hard," Gibson said. "They pay a heavy price to get where they are. Even when I'm in football season, they show up at 6:30 every morning for workouts. I'd say they want another title."
Meagan Jackson of Escambia Academy was named MVP of the tournament, and Lori Bonds and Kaylie Castleberry were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Escambia Academy 63
Jackson Academy 24
On Thursday night, the Lady Cougars thoroughly demolished the Jackson Academy Lady Eagles.
The game remained close until midway through the second quarter, when the Lady Cougars went from leading 11-6 to leading 27-8 at halftime.
"We didn't play very well in the first half, but we straightened things out," Gibson said. "It was a big thing to rest our starters for most of the second half, because we knew we'd have to press all game against Sparta."
The Lady Cougars led 45-8 midway through the third quarter when the starters were pulled.
Meagan Jackson lead the scoring for the Lady Cougars with 18 points. Lori Bonds and Allison Thomas pitched in nine points apiece.
Escambia Academy 63
Sparta Academy 54
In a hard-fought game, the Lady Cougars held off a late rally from the Sparta Academy Lady Warriors to win the area tournament championship.
"These guys are kind of our nemesis," Gibson said. "This is the fourth time we've played them this year, and we'll probably see them again in Montgomery."
The Lady Warriors defeated the Lady Cougars three times last season, but EA still went on to win the state championship.
Lori Bonds had a career night with 22 points. Kaylie Castleberry poured in 13 points for the Lady Cougars, and Rayleen Miller added 10.
Game times are not yet set for the Elite Eight in Montgomery, and will be announced by the Advance on Wednesday.

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