Fallen star, second loss

Published 8:27 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
The streak is over. The B.C. Rain Red Raiders invaded Atmore Jan. 7 and defeated the Escambia County boy's basketball team 49-45, ending the 14-game win streak for the Devils.
ECHS (15-2, 1-0 in Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A Area 1 play) was hurt early as senior scoring machine Calvin Hartley got tangled up with a B.C. Rain player and that player landed on Hartley's ankle. This all happened early in the first quarter.
The loss of a scoring threat like Hartley wounded the Devils.
"Losing Calvin is not an excuse for the loss," ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said. "But it is always hard to lose your leading scorer. I will not make excuses because we need to saddle up and move on and Calvin should be back for the next game."
Antone said he was proud of how his guys responded after Hartley went down. He said they were shocked for a second, but they hung in there and almost pulled out the win.
Antone said the team did a good job working through the adversity and almost pulled out a win, but the shooting was not as good as it could be either.
"We did not shoot well and they (B.C. Rain) came out prepared," Antone said.
Antone said it was a hard fought basketball game and if a team has to lose that is how they want to do it. He also said he is not worried about the team's record.
"I will take a 15-2 record any day," he said.
With the loss the Blue Devils slipped five spots in the MaxPreps Alabama Boy's Basketball poll to No. 35.
The leading scorer for ECHS was Chris Andrews with 12 points. Frank Taylor contributed 11 points, Larry Bowens added eight points, Quartez James scored seven points and Hartley contributed three points before being injured.
The night before, Jan. 6, the Blue Devils defended their home turf for their first area win of the season against the UMS-Wright Bulldogs. ECHS came away with a 58-48 victory.
Making an appearance at the game were many Thunderstix, the fan-friendly cheering devices made popular by the 2002 World Series Anaheim Angels fans.
The Thunderstix were sponsored by The First National Bank of Atmore and David's Catfish and added to the noise emitted by ECHS fans.
The game was not all easy sailing for Big Blue, as they hit a rough spot in the third quarter. The Bulldogs cut the ECHS lead to three at 42-39. The Blue Devils responded with a 16-7 run to end the game and win by 10 points.
"They are a great group of guys," Antone said. "Sometimes you have to let them play thorough a rough time and they did just that. They turned up the intensity when they needed to and won the game."
Frank Taylor led the way with 21 points for the Blue Devils. Hartley chipped in 16 points, James added 13 points, Andrews dropped in six points and Bowens contributed two points.
The ECHS "B" team had a tough weekend, dropping two games. The "B" team Blue Devils lost 36-30 to UMS-Wright and 47-29 to B.C. Rain.
"We have got to find ourselves," ECHS "B" team head coach Marshall Davis said. "We will work on working as a team in practice this week."
In the Devils game against B.C. Rain Eddie Montgomery led the scoring with 11 points. Josh Adams added six points, DeMarcus Johnson contributed four points and Rodney Richardson, Myles Everett, Mike Buittron and Jacorey Ferrell dropped in two points each.
Against UMS-Wright Adams led the scoring for ECHS with eight points. Johnson added seven points, Montgomery contributed five points and Richardson, James Webster, Everett, Ferrell and David Quarker added two points each.
The Blue Devils hosted Gulf Shores for their second area game of the season yesterday and the results will be in Sunday's edition of the Advance.

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