Lady Devils open new year with perfect month

Published 6:26 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Perfection is not an easy task to achieve, but the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils have achieved just that in the 2006-07 season.
The Lady Blue Devils won the AHSAA Class 4A Area 1 regular season championship with a 6-0 record and they did not lose in the month of January. This is something head coach Todd Reynolds is very proud of his girls for achieving.
"(Going undefeated) was a goal of ours at the beginning of the season," Reynolds said. "And our girls played lights out when it came time for area play."
The Lady Blue Devils' latest victim was area foe Monroe County. ECHS had a bit of a struggle compared to the first time the two teams met. The Lady Devils (23-5, 6-0) walked away with a 46-37 victory Jan. 26 after destroying the Lady Tigers 68-34 Jan. 12.
"We looked real sloppy," Reynolds said. "And we couldn't throw the ball in the ocean if we tried, but we played good defense and hung on for the win. And I received more good play from my bench in the game."
Reynolds said it feels good to win the area, but the team's job is not over.
"We have taught them that it will get harder now, not easier," he said. "We are all banged up, but we have to play through it."
That battle begins with the Area 1 Tournament beginning Feb. 5 in Atmore and Reynolds said he hopes it ends in Birmingham.
Jasmine Sanders scored 13 points and snagged 12 rebounds, Courtney English added 14 points and Ashley Kidd contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.
With the win over Monroe, the Lady Devils finished off a perfect 11-0 in the month of January. The Lady Devils host W.S. Neal Friday and ECHS will hold Senior Night festivities in between the varsity girls' game and the varsity boys' game.
Blue Devils 82 – Monroe 69
It may have taken overtime, but the Escambia County Blue Devils grabbed their fourth straight victory Friday, a 82-69 win over Monroe County, and hit what head coach Jerome Antone said was a groove.
"We are gelling at the right time and we have opened up a winning streak heading into the area tournament," Antone said. "And right now is the right time to be winning."
Senior guard Frank Taylor came up big for the Blue Devils yet again in the win. Taylor scored the final five points of regulation to tie the game and he had an opportunity to end the game before it reached overtime.
"Frank made two clutch free throws to send the game into overtime," Antone said. "We put on a full court press when we were down five points with 1:20 left in the game and that created two quick shots for Frank. He hit a three pointer and then on our next possession he was fouled and hit the both ends of the one-and-one scenario."
And the game was won in the overtime period with that same defensive philosophy.
"We played tenacious defense in overtime and overwhelmed them," Antone said. "I applaud our guys hard work because they hung in there and believed they could win the game."
With the win, the Blue Devils secured a tie for the No. 3 seed in the Area 1 tournament. Antone and the Blue Devils won the coin toss to break the tie as well and ECHS will be the No. 3 seed when the tournament begins Feb. 6 in Jackson. They will face No. 2 seed Thomasville to get to the championship game.
"We have finished strong and now we have to keep playing hard," Antone said. "Our guys realize they have to finish strong and they have showed that knowledge on the floor these past four games."
But before the area tournament kicks into gear, the Blue Devils host W.S. Neal for Senior Night this Friday. The festivities honoring the Class of 2007 will be held in between the varsity girls' game and the varsity boys' game.

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