Devils stay hot on road

Published 2:56 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
Team unity can be seen as one of the key elements to winning a championship in any sport. Escambia County Blue Devils head boys' basketball coach Jerome Antone said his team had it last year and they are on their way to achieving that unity this year.
The Blue Devils (4-1) won their fourth straight game Monday night, 81-43, over the W.S. Neal Eagles in East Brewton.
"It was a dominating performance," Antone said. "And the best part was I was able to get everyone some playing time. And that always goes a long way for team unity. It is great for team morale when everyone gets playing time."
Senior Frank Taylor led the Devils with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Point guard Shavauhia Knight added 16 points and 12 assists.
Antone said Knight is doing well and filling the void left by last year's Quartez James.
Sophomore James Webster has also impressed his coach and he dropped 21 points and snagged 10 steals in the win over W.S. Neal.
"I can't say enough about that kid," Antone said. "He has come to play and he is what we call a PTP, a primetime player. He has come up and ignited us."
Webster was pulled up to the varsity squad from the "B" team for the Devils' game against McIntosh.
After dropping their opening game to defending Class 4A champion Hillcrest-Evergreen, the Devils have won four games in a row and Antone said he is feeling good about the team's season.
"We needed to get together and start playing together and I thinking we have been gelling over the past couple games," he said.
The ECHS "B" team also took down W.S. Neal, 40-17.
Blue Devils 62 – Baldwin County 57
The Blue Devils came from behind to take down the visiting AHSAA Class 6A Baldwin County Tigers, 62-57, Dec. 2 in Atmore.
"We came out and played hard," ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said. "The main thing we had going in our favor was conditioning. I have always stressed conditioning to my guys and if you are in shape, you can overcome a lot."
Antone said the Tigers were a high-energy team, but the Devils instituted a press late in the game and that forced Bay Minette into some mistakes.
"I think when we pressed them it surprised them and they made a lot more mistakes," Antone said.
The Devils trailed 47-44 at the end of the third quarter, but outscored Bay Minette 18-10 in the final quarter.
"We were able to beat them because we played hard, smart and fast," Antone said. "We still need to cut down on the turnovers because we turned the ball over 19 times in that game. And if we want to be a great team we cannot turn the ball over."
Frank Taylor led ECHS on the court again with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Shavauhia Knight was close behind with 12 points and 12 assists. James Webster dropped in 13 points and grabbed five steals.
The ECHS "B" team took down Baldwin County, 42-34.
Blue Devils 77 – McIntosh 65
The Atmore boys' basketball team pulled out a 77-65 double overtime victory over the visiting McIntosh Demons Dec. 1. The Blue Devils trailed 28-19 at the half, but they slimmed that margin to 43-41 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
"We regrouped at halftime and I told the guys to keep the intensity up," ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said. "And we made those adjustments and were able to play Blue Devil basketball."
The lead changed hands many times before regulation ended with a 57-57 tie and the two teams headed for overtime. The score continued to flip flop in the first overtime period and when the score was tied at 63-63, the teams continued on into the night.
The Blue Devils took control in the second overtime and outscored MHS 14-2 as the Demons fell apart. Three turnovers in the final two minutes of play led to the 77-65 score.
Antone said he tried to keep his team calm and collected in the overtime periods.
"I told them to look at it as just another quarter and go out there and play hard," Antone said.
Frank Taylor led the Devils with 26 points. James Lykes added 15 points and 16 rebounds. James Webster had 18 points, Trey Hartley had four points and 12 rebounds, Skyler Lindsey dropped in seven points, Josh Adams scored three points and Brandon Marshall and Jarrod Jefferson scored two points each.
The Blue Devils traveled to Citronelle for a game yesterday and results will be in an upcoming Advance. The team travels to Bay Minette for round two with Baldwin County Saturday beginning at 4:45 p.m.

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