Championship Caliber

Published 4:12 am Wednesday, February 16, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
A warning to all pregnant fans of the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars, their games may be too exciting.
Lady Cougar head coach Heath Gibson's wife, Leah, began having contractions during the fourth quarter of the Lady Cougars' 64-54 win over Kingwood Academy Lady Lions in their matchup in the Final Four of the AISA's Division II.
Due to his wife's condition, coach Gibson was unavailable for comment following the game.
Lori Bonds lead the scoring for the Lady Cougars with 26 points. Meagan Jackson added 15 in the win.
The Lady Cougars will face the Lady Pirates of Pickens Academy today at noon for the state championship of AISA's Division II.
Escambia 72
South Choctaw 42
The Escambia Academy Lady Cougars travelled to Huntingdon College in Montgomery Friday afternoon full of confidence. Through 16 minutes, that confidence was a bit shaken.
The Lady Cougars lead the slightly undermanned South Choctaw Academy Lady Rebels 40-31 after a first half that featured 31 foul calls.
"You play all season a certain way and then you get new officials that call
the game differently when you get to this point," Lady Cougar coach Heath
Gibson said. "But I was actually very proud of them, they adapted and were
able to play a much more aggressive style in the second half."
The Lady Cougars outscored South Choctaw 32-11 in the second half en route
to a 72-42 win to advance to the Final Four to face Kingwood Academy.
Lori Bonds of Escambia Academy lead all scorers with 23 points. Meagan
Jackson added 19 and Kaylie Castleberry pitched in 12 points to lead the
Lady Cougars. Kate Dahlberg lead scoring for South Choctaw with 13 points.
"They played with us for a while there," Gibson said. "It was a lot closer
than I thought it'd be. Once the calls loosened up we were able to play our
game more."
Gibson said he felt confident about EA's chances in the Final Four and
"I feel pretty good about our girls," Gibson said. "As long as we worry
about Escambia Academy and play our game we'll be all right."
In Boys' Action
Jefferson Christian Academy 57, Escambia Academy 43
The state champions have been dethroned.
The defending state champion Escambia Academy Cougars lost a tough game to
the Eagles of Jefferson Christian Academy Tuesday afternoon by a score of
"I just felt like they were better," said Cougar coach Jason Allen. "They
were just more athletic and more physical."
Zack Thomas lead the scoring as usual for the Cougars with 18 points. Josh
Montel pitched in 10 in the losing effort.
"We had decided we were going to take away their inside game and make them
beat us on the perimeter," Allen said. "But they were able to hit their
shots and we really had no answer for it. It was kind of like picking your
Despite the loss, coach Allen was proud of his team's efforts. The
greaseboard on the locker room said one simple statement, "You didn't quit".
"I thought we rebounded well," Allen said. "We played pretty good defense.
But they fought hard, we just didn't match up physically."
Allen also noted he would miss his seniors.
"I'm very proud of these five seniors (Thomas, Montel, Buckie Dawson, Bruce
Smith, and Matt Amerson)," Allen said. "We're going to miss them, but I know
they'll be successful in life. We've got a lot of good young players, but
they're going to have to step it up next season."
The Cougars finished the season with a 15-9 record.
Escambia Academy 51, Patrician Academy 48
After an off first half from Escambia Academy star Zack Thomas, the Cougars
found themselves in a dilemma.
Thomas got hot in the second half, and the Cougars turned up the defense to
a level previously not seen this season to escape with a 51-48 win over the
Patrician Academy Saints Friday afternoon at Huntingdon College in
"We played fair," Cougar coach Jason Allen said. "Zack didn't have a good
night, but the others did a good job again. It makes you feel good when they
can step up, but I'd rather have him hot."
Zack Thomas lead the scoring for the Cougars with 17 points. Cody Norton
added 12 in the win. Brent Bonner of Patrician lead all scorers with 25
points, while Travis Abate added 13.
Allen felt that the pieces were coming together for the Cougars.
"We're playing very well on defense right now," Allen said. "When you get to
this point, you've got to play championship-caliber defense. We've still got
some work to do, though."
The Cougars advanced to face Jefferson Christian Academy in the Final Four

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