Blue Devils drop opener

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2005

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Blue Devils fell Friday night to the Baldwin County Tigers 78-63 in a hard fought game on the hardwood.
"Our guys played hard out there," ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said. "We did not shoot the ball well Friday and we couldn't make one from the charity line."
The Devils were 11-26 from the free throw line and committed 24 turnovers. Antone said those two aspects of the game led to the loss.
"We did not play sound basketball," Antone said. "But that is why we practice. We will get in the gym and make the needed improvements before our next game."
Antone said another key factor in the loss was the lack of depth on the Blue Devils bench. Antone said his players were in good shape and they ran the floor well, but the other team had 15 guys to go to.
"I am only six deep on the bench and they beat us with their bench," Antone said. "However, my players are very competitive and they kept the game close throughout."
Antone added that his team needed to step up their level of physical play to win games. He said they did not box out on the low post well in Friday's game. He said if his team were able to win the physical battle down low they would win a lot of games.
"I guarantee we will be one of the better block out teams around after practice this week," Antone said.
Senior small forward Chris Andrews and junior power forward Frank Taylor poured in 19 points apiece for the Blue Devils.
Senior point guard Calvin Hartley added nine points and 12 assists and senior shooting guard Quartez James finished with seven points and eight assists. Senior big man Kenny Johnson grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Devils on the glass.
In Lady Blue Devils action
Head coach Christy Nall and her Lady Devils suffered a 46-32 loss to the Lady Tigers. However, the focus for ECHS was not on the game. At noon on Friday Jasmine Sanders told Nall she was having chest pains. Sanders was taken to a hospital in Pensacola and hooked up to heart monitors. She will undergo various tests to find out what is wrong with her heart.
"The morale was low because of the situation with Jasmine, but I think the girls still played tough considering," Nall said.
Free throw shooting contributed to the loss for the Lady Devils. They went 7-24 from the free throw line. But ECHS was only 11-42 from the field. The poor shooting performance bothered Nall, but she said she knows her girls will pick it up.
Nall said the defensive performance by the Lady Devils was too aggressive. She said she believes all the girls need to do is shake the game off and they will be all right.
"We need to not force the issue on offense and be patient," Nall said. "If we do that we will win some games."
Anushka Banks stepped into the starting lineup when Sanders was sidelined with her heart condition.
"I was proud of how Banks played," Nall said. "She really stepped up for Jasmine and played hard."
Banks led all Lady Devils with nine points, freshman Courtney English added seven points and Ashanti Jones scored six points.
The Lady Blue Devils faced off with the Lady Chiefs of Northview yesterday and the results will be in Sunday's edition of the Advance.
The Blue Devils and Lady Blue Devils go on the road to play Greenville High School in Greenville Friday. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.

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