EA wins tough one at home

Published 6:40 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2005

By By Matthew Nascone
The Cottage Hill Academy girl's basketball team came to Atmore hoping to take down two-time defending Alabama Independent School Association Class 2A champions. This did not happen as the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars defeated Cottage Hill 56-44.
EA was leading the entire game, but head coach Heath Gibson said there were times where he thought his team was playing sloppy.
"We had a real tough problem in the first half with their size," Gibson said. "They were getting most of the boards, but we corrected that in the second half."
Gibson said the full-court press implemented in the second half helped the Lady Cougars force turnovers. The lack of defensive pressure in the first half kept the game close as EA carried a six-point lead into halftime.
"In the first half we really weren't playing great defense and we believe defense has been a key to our success in the past," Gibson said. "The difference in the first half and the second half was that we were more physical and aggressive. We also got a lot of turnovers because of our press."
Lori Bonds and Jamie Drew were key players for the Lady Cougars. Gibson said Bonds hurt her ankle in the beginning of the game, but played through the pain and put up 21 points.
Drew was relentless on the defensive side of the ball, but also poured in 15 points for the Lady Cougars.
"Jamie Drew does a great job of creating turnovers and havoc on the defensive press," Gibson said. "She drew a bunch of fouls on the press and got to the line a bunch of times and she really helped us out."
The game of basketball is a team game and Gibson seems to understand that quite well, as do his players.
"They all have roles on our team and they did a good job stepping up in the second half and creating turnovers," he said.
As a team EA shot a scorching 66 percent from the field, but a dismal 34 percent from the free throw line.
"That is the weird thing, we shot better from the floor than the free throw line," Gibson said.
Gibson said he was proud of the team's victory, especially because it came against a Class 3A opponent.
"They have some really good sized girls and we had a tough problem with that size," Gibson said.
In Boy's action
The boy's team did not fare as well as the girls. They had to swallow an 89-45 loss to Cottage Hill. However, the Cottage Hill boy's team is the defending Class 3A champion. And EA head coach Kevin Woods understands this fact.
"Cottage Hill and Faith are the two best teams we will face all year and we have them out of the way now," Woods said.
Woods was proud of the way his players played the game.
"Our guys played extremely hard," he said. "They were just bigger and deeper and that hurt us."
On a high note, the Cougars did get Bruce Smith back from a broken hand suffered in football season. Smith was unofficially cleared to play by the doctor and his parents Monday. He went to the doctor again Tuesday and Woods said he is expecting Smith to get the official clearance.
Woods said the second half looked a lot better for the Cougars as the defense was able to make adjustments at halftime. He said the team played with a lot of heart and desire and they look forward to bouncing back from the loss.
The Cougars played Mobile Christian Academy Tuesday and the recap will be in the Sunday edition of the Advance. EA tips off against Cottage Hill tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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