Championship woes

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
If the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars want to win their third straight Alabama Independent School Association state title they will have to rebound from a tough loss in the AISA Class 2A East Region championship game.
Head coach Heath Gibson said he was able to find the positive in the 59-40 loss to Sparta.
"This game will make us better," Gibson said. "I told my girls 'When we go back for state this game right here will set the tone.' Losing brings disappointment and how you handle it shows you what kind of team you have."
Gibson said his team has never shown worry after a loss.
"Every time we have lost we bring it back to a different level in the next game," he said. "And it only takes three games to be state champions and I believe in my heart these girls are going to get it done.
The game proved to be a true challenge for EA from the start as they trailed 14-11 after the first quarter of play. The Lady Cougars never led in the game after the first quarter and the Lady Warrior lead grew to as many as 18 in the third quarter.
Gibson said there were some keys to why EA was not able to pull the game out.
"We did not shoot the ball well and we had a hard time to getting people open," he said. "The whole pace of the game was rushed and we got into foul trouble early and that is never good."
Lori Bonds led the Lady Cougars again with 19 points. Allison Thomas added six points, Courtney Smith poured in five points, Jordan Jaye contributed four points and Katie Smith, Ellen Corman and Clare Jones added two points each.
On. Feb. 2 the Lady Cougars knocked off Jackson 64-30 in the first round of the tournament for the berth in the championship round.
Gibson said EA got into foul trouble early in this game as well. Bonds and Thomas each had three fouls in the first quarter.
"We had other girls step up and get the job done and that was huge," Gibson said. "We were pressing all game and in the second half we got hot shooting the ball."
Gibson said he was proud with the effort the girls put forth.
Bonds led the Lady Cougars with 15 points. Thomas added 11 points, Heather White and Jones scored eight points each, Courtney Smith and Jaime Drew scored six points each, Jaye added four points, Katie Smith, Ashley Smith and Corman added two points each.
In boy's action
The Cougars lost a heartbreaker in the final 40 seconds of the game to Clarke Prep. EA tied the game at 50-50 with 40 seconds to go.
On the ensuing drive for Clarke Prep the Cougars stole the ball, but immediately turned it back over and that led to the deciding basket and a 52-50 loss.
EA head coach Kevin Woods said his team got the ball with seven seconds to go and had to throw a shot up at half court to no avail.
"The kids played extremely hard and we were down most of the game because we were cold as ice in the second half," Woods said. "I am really proud of them because they played really hard and they laid it all on the line on the court."
Jeffery Taylor scored 15 points and snagged six rebounds to lead the team. Joe Drew added 14 points and two rebounds, Andrew Lambeth contributed 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, Cody Norton poured in five points and eight rebounds and Matt Ash scored three points.

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