Lady Devils grab win in tournament
By By Matthew Nascone
When Todd Reynolds arrived in Atmore last summer and took over as head coach of the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils he expressed a desire to take what was a good team and make them better.
He took one step forward in his intentions for the Lady Devils last weekend. Atmore played in the Light It Up Classic in Mobile, a 16-team tournament in Mobile.
They came away from the tournament with a 1-2 record and some much needed experience, according to Reynolds.
"One of the main reasons I chose to play in this tournament was to get this team better," Reynolds said. "We were not tough enough in our first game, but we got better as the tournament progressed."
The AHSAA Class 4A Lady Devils were knocked into the consolation bracket following a 52-35 loss to the Class 6A Murphy Lady Panthers.
The Lady Devils got down early and could not recover against the bigger, more physical Lady Panthers.
"They had one girl (Kenyatta Gill) who was dominant all game and we had no answer for her," Reynolds said.
Another key point Reynolds stressed was how only one of his girls reached double digits in scoring.
"We rely on having three people scoring in double digits, and we only had one," he said.
That one was Courtney English with 19 points. Jasmine Sanders scored seven points, Ashley Kidd added five points and Ashanti Jones contributed four points.
Lady Blue Devils 48 – Robertsdale 43
The Lady Devils got back on track Thursday against Robertsdale, winning 48-43.
"We were able to control the pace of the game by maintaining our pressure defense," Reynolds said. "And our inside game returned and we made a lot of shots inside."
Also returning in the game against Robertsdale was the scoring aspect that has brought ECHS to an 11-5 record and No. 7 ranking in AHSAA Class 4A according to the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
"We had three people score in double digits," Reynolds said. "And that is our formula. We have to have that balance to win ball games. And with that balance, we were able to dominate the other team."
The key quarter was the second quarter, when ECHS outscored Robertsdale 15-5, to enter halftime with a lead.
"We got off to a good start in the first quarter and really did well in the second quarter," Reynolds said.
Ashley Kidd led the scoring with 16 points and she also grabbed 10 rebounds. Courtney English contributed 13 points and seven steals and Jasmine Sanders added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Leflore 39 – Lady Blue Devils 37
Against Leflore Preparatory Academy, in the semifinals of the consolation bracket, the Lady Blue Devils jumped out to a quick start again, but could not maintain the lead, falling 39-37.
"Basically, we got into foul trouble," Reynolds said.
ECHS point guard Ashanti Jones committed three fouls in the first quarter, forcing Reynolds to shuffle his lineup and move sixth man Courtney English to the point, which then made Ashley Kidd switch to shooting guard.
"Ashley did a good job running the two, as she scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds," Reynolds said. "But the switch affected our flow on offense."
Jasmine Sanders added 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Lady Devils again failed to have three players in double digits scoring.
The tournament was co-hosted by McGill-Toolen High School and Spring Hill College and played at Spring Hill College in Mobile. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa defeated Midfield in the championship game and Leflore won the consolation bracket.