Blue Devil fans excited about title

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
It has been a long time coming for the Escambia County High School boy's basketball team, but the area tournament championship trophy is back in Atmore. With a 58-43 victory over the UMS-Wright Bulldogs Monday in the Alabama High School Athletic Association
The elder George Bush was in the White House the last time this trophy graced the city of Atmore. There have been 14 years in between ECHS's area tournament wins, but the city loves it no matter how long it took.
"It brings good feelings back to Atmore," former Atmore Blue Devil Patrick Craft said.
Craft was a member of the 1991-92 team that was the last team to bring home the trophy. He led the team with an average of 30 points per game.
The years of no championship have not been lost on the fans and Sheldon Frye said it is great to have the title back in Atmore.
"I think this is great for the kids and it has been long overdue," Frye said. "All it took was a little molding by the coaches and it is great that they accomplished this. The support from the community has been tremendous."
Buck Powell, a long-standing citizen of Atmore and superintendent of the Escambia County Board of Education, said it was a great event to watch.
"I think we have a class group of kids here," he said. "They are good on the court as well as in the school. They had the opportunity to show themselves and they played good basketball. I am proud of the kids and of the administration. Coach Antone has done a tremendous job with these kids and the support from the fans has been great."
Of course these players would be nowhere without their parents.
"I am so excited that we are state bound and it is a great feeling," Tracie Taylor, Frank Taylor's mother, said. "This is just what we needed for the school and the community."
The star of the area tournament championship game was Quartez James. He scored 24 points and his mother was very proud of him and his teammates.
"We are headed to another level now," Priscilla James said. "I am excited for the kids and I am happy at how they have played ball this year."
And where would Quartez be without his younger sister at every game to root him on.
"They did good and I hope they win it all," Cortina James said.
ECHS head coach Jerome Antone had some positive things to say about his team's efforts.
"This was a great win for the kids and for the community," Antone said. "I also applaud the fans for getting into the game and helping these kids throughout the game."
Antone's assistant, Marshall Davis, had only good things to say about the victory and the future.
"The game got emotional and you could feel it," Davis said. "These guys adjusted to whatever UMS threw at them and they came out with the win. We now have five games left and it is on because now it is win or go home."

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