Cougars win fourth straight area game

Published 6:11 pm Monday, January 29, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
It started Jan. 16 and ended Jan. 23.
The four-game stretch the Escambia Academy Cougars went on to snatch the No. 2 seed in the AISA Class 2A Region 1 Area 1 Tournament was a four-game area winning streak that took EA from 0-2 in the area to 4-2 in the area.
The final game was a tight 74-70 win over Sparta Academy last Tuesday, but it was not smooth sailing the whole way for the Cougars.
"We were down 10 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but we fought back," EA head coach Kevin Woods said. "It was nip and tuck and fast-paced the entire game and we scored 29 points in the fourth quarter to ice the game. We played great defense and we ran them into the ground."
The pressure defense the Cougars instilled led to victory, Woods said.
"They (Sparta) made turnovers and we capitalized on their mistakes," he said. "They were the best team in the area and we split with them this year. All of our guys played great and there was a lot of hustle out there."
Senior Andrew Lambeth came up big for the Cougars again, hitting six free throws in the final seconds of the game to put it away.
"Andrew stepped up and kept us ahead," Woods said.
Lambeth finished the game with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Joe Drew added 14 points and seven rebounds, Tyler Harrison scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, Blake Kirk added 12 points and seven rebounds and Cody Norton contributed nine points and six rebounds in a game that saw no bench player score a point.
The momentum the Cougars have built should prove to be a good thing, as it becomes tournament time, Woods said.
"This was our best game of the year," he said. "We may be peaking at the right time and we will be riding a four-game area winning streak into the tournament and that can't be a bad thing."
EA will face No. 3-ranked Wilcox in the first round of the tournament, and if they win they will be state tournament bound.
Before the area tournament opens sometime in February, the Cougars close out January with games against Marion at home Friday for Senior Night and on the road against Fort Dale Monday. Senior Night festivities Friday will take place in between the Lady Cougars varsity game and the Cougars varsity game.
JV Cougars 37 – Sparta 17
In the JV Cougars 37-17 trouncing of Sparta, not many starters saw the floor in the fourth quarter. Woods said the full-court press again tricked the other team into many turnovers and the Cougars took advantage.
Jon Dean led the charge with 14 points, Michael Mitchell added 10 points, Austin Lee and Wade Matthews contributed four points each, Tanner Kirk and Jake Taylor scored two points each and Nate Smith added one point.

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