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Cougars, Lady Cougars suffer tough week

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia Academy Lady Cougars had a lot to deal with Thursday. In the morning they found out their head coach, Andy Gorum, resigned and in the evening they battled through a tough 37-33 loss to Wilcox Academy.
"It was an emotional day for everyone," Keri Payne, who took over as head coach for Gorum, said. "But when we got to the game, we did not shoot the ball well at all. And we had too many turnovers."
The Lady Cougars (8-8, 0-2) turned the ball over 17 times.
Another area EA struggled with was shooting the ball and Payne said they couldn't find the basket. And the rebounding aspect of their game was not there either.
"It really hurt us that we were not able to get the rebounds," Payne said. "And then anything we threw up there would not go down for us. You could tell our girls were tired and drained."
Sparta 53 – Lady Cougars 40
In Gorum's final game, the Lady Cougars lost to Sparta Academy, 53-40. The game was not as much a blowout as the score showed, Payne said.
"Our girls did not play their best, but we came back in the fourth," she said. "We were down by eight and their two best ball handlers fouled out. But we just couldn't come back."
Jordan Jaye led all scorers with 15 points. Clare Jones added 10 points, Morgan Dorriety contributed six points, Katie Smith added four points, Alaina Arnold and Heather White scored two points and Sara Beth Davis and Amber Huskey each scored one point.
Wilcox 42 – Cougars 35
The Escambia Academy Cougars held by five points late in the fourth quarter of their game against Wilcox Thursday, but they could not come back from the deficit, losing 42-35.
EA head coach Kevin Woods said the game was not a bad game, but the Cougars (8-9, 0-2) simply did not shoot well from the floor. They shot 23 percent and took a season-high 67 shots.
"It was horrible because we went cold and Wilcox stuck to their game plan and pulled out a win," Woods said. "We were not turning the ball over and we were rebounding the ball well, but we just couldn't hit a shot."
Andrew Lambeth led the team with 13 points. Cody Norton added four points and 11 rebounds, Joe Drew had eight points and nine rebounds, Tyler Harrison contributed eight points and eight rebounds and Ethan Brooks added two points and six rebounds.
Sparta 72 – Cougars 58
The Cougars hung with Sparta in the first half of their Jan. 9 meeting and at halftime, they were only down 30-29, but the team went cold in the second half from the floor and lost 72-58.
The highlight of the game and the past two weeks has been the play of senior Joe Drew, Woods said.
"He (Drew) has really started playing good basketball here recently," Woods said.
Drew scored 15 points and grabbed two rebounds against Sparta. Andrew Lambeth added 28 points, Cody Norton had two points, Tyler Harrison had nine points and six rebounds.
JV Lady Cougars 23 – Wilcox 16
The EA JV Lady Cougars emerged victorious in a game head coach Larry Bonds called "a must win situation." EA took down Wilcox Academy 23-16 Jan. 11.
"The game was a game where our team grew up a lot," Bonds said. "We don't have many girls, so we have to keep our girls out of foul trouble. We got in foul trouble, but our girls did the smart thing and backed off."
Bonds said the game was an impressive win because the girls improved tremendously from previous games.
"If we keep improving like we did against Wilcox and we do get a shot to play in the state tournament, I know these girls will play their hearts out," Bonds said.
Kristen Matthews led all scorers with eight points, Kayleigh Miller scored seven points, Taylor Helton added six points and Amber Huskey scored two points.
The Cougars and Lady Cougars travel to Jackson Tuesday for a 4 p.m. tipoff.