ECHS hosts Area tourney

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
The AHSAA Class 4A Area 1 Tournament is coming back to Atmore. The only difference is this year the Lady Blue Devils will host Thomasville, Jackson and Monroe County in the end-of-year tournament. ECHS head coach Todd Reynolds could not be more excited.
"It is an honor to host this tournament," Reynolds said. "But I don't think is was a dire need that we host this tournament because we played just as well on the road as in our own gym, but it will be nice to be at home."
This is the first time Atmore has won the Area Championship since 2000.
Reynolds said the goal of hosting the area tournament has been accomplished and now his girls have to go one step further and win the tournament. But he said all the credit belongs to the girls.
"My system requires athleticism and the key components are the 1 (guard), the 2 (guard) and the 5 (center)," he said. "And this team is strong in all those areas."
But the road to this point was not an easy one. The Lady Devils finished the regular season 24-5 and compiled a perfect area mark of 6-0, but Reynolds said it all starts with how much the girls want to put in.
"We progressed throughout the season and I told them all the time, 'Don't show your hand if you don't have too' and they didn't," Reynolds said. "But all I am trying to do is bring a higher level of expectation to Escambia County High School. It is easy to just say they are girls and move on, but to me they are athletes and I work with whatever team I am coaching. My coaching goal is to always put a good product on the floor."
And Reynolds said he realizes that no matter what happens in the tournament and throughout the playoffs, this was a great year for ECHS.
"Regardless of how we do, I am extremely proud of this team for their effort all season long," he said.
The Lady Devils did not lose a game to a Class 4A opponent. ECHS did not lose a game in January and the team is on a 12-game winning streak heading into the first game of the area tournament tomorrow. The No. 1 seeded Lady Devils face Monroe County at 7 p.m. and the winner of that game is in the championship game.
Also playing tomorrow for a spot in the championship game will be Jackson and Thomasville. That game starts at 5:30 p.m.
The Lady Blue Devils are seven wins away from a state championship and Reynolds said he is ready to start down the road to Birmingham, but he realizes the girls cannot do this alone.
"We need people to come out and watch the game and support us," he said.

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