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Blue Devils drop area home opener

By By Matthew Nascone
Playing hard right out of the gate is a quality Escambia County Blue Devils head basketball coach Jerome Antone said his guys need to have in every game this year.
Antone said his team did not have that intensity in their opening AHSAA Class 4A, Area 1 game against Jackson Tuesday night, losing 67-57.
"We did not come out in the first half with a lot of energy and that hurt us bad," Antone said. "We were down by 20 points at halftime."
The Blue Devils (6-8. 0-1) came out of the half with an intensity that allowed them to eventually grab a three-point lead, but Antone said they could not hold on for the victory.
"I have stressed to the guys that we need to open the game with that intensity and jump on the other team quick," Antone said. "And if we can do that then we can control the game rather than playing catch up.
Antone also made a switch at point guard in the second half to accommodate the more fast-paced scoring offense needed to come back from the 20-point deficit. Kingston Craft took over for Shavauhia Knight and led the Devils back.
Antone said it was great to see the second half comeback.
"Each kid played hard, but we can't keep putting ourselves in that situation," Antone said. "I saw a lot of positive things in that second half. Any time a team can fight back from down 20 points, that is a good thing."
Antone said he stressed the importance of winning the first area game and he will have the team working extra hard to win out so they can get to the playoffs.
The Blue Devils faced Thomasville Friday night in their second area game in as many games. They hosted B.C. Rain High School Saturday and results from both games will be in an upcoming Advance..