Season done for Big Blue

Published 10:12 pm Monday, February 20, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
In a seesaw battle in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs, the No. 6 Escambia County Blue Devils boy's basketball team found themselves on the losing end of a 56-54 contest.
The defending 4A state champion No. 5 Greene County Tigers invaded Atmore and exited as the victor on a last second lay-up.
The score was tied at 54-54 and the Tigers took the ball up court and with two seconds left they scored the go-ahead basket. With less than one second to play Chris Andrews threw a Hail Mary pass to Frank Taylor on the other side of the court, but Taylor was not able to control the ball and the clock ran out on the Devils' season.
"This was a tough way to win because the two teams in this game were two of the best at the 4A level," GCHS head coach Rodney Wesley said. "It is too bad we had to play this team this early. We were behind, but these guys stayed with it and they played like champions."
Wesley showed the class only a true champion does as he found Antone after the game and embraced him to share his feelings on the game.
"It was a great win for them and I am very proud of their team, they played hard and fought for the win," ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said.
After congratulating the Tigers for their victory, Antone thanked everyone involved with the Blue Devils' this season.
"I want to thank the community, the school, the student body and all the businesses who have helped us this year," Antone said. "But don't worry, we will be back next year. This is not the end for Escambia County basketball."
The Blue Devils took the lead late in the first quarter at 4-2 and the score went back and forth for the rest of the game as the lead changed six times.
The biggest lead for ECHS in the first half was at halftime as they led 24-19. The third quarter was more of the same for the Blue Devils and Tigers and it ended with ECHS leading 44-39.
To open the fourth quarter the Blue Devils jumped out to a 50-40 advantage before the Tigers went on the prowl and erased that 10-point lead to clinch the game in the final second of play.
"I am proud of all we have accomplished this year and these guys have no reason to hang their heads," Antone said. "I would like to thank the parents for the opportunity to work with their sons."
Quartez James led the Blue Devils with 15 points. Andrews poured in 12 points, Calvin Hartley and Larry Bowens added nine points each, Kingston Craft contributed five points and Taylor dropped in four points.
As the Tigers chanted out a celebratory chant following the game, the Blue Devil faithful waited outside Big Blue's locker room and gave every Blue Devil who walked out a loud applause that signified this community's attachment and love for their Blue Devils.

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