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Lady Cougars hang tough

By By Matthew Nascone
For two-and-a-half quarters the AISA Class AA Escambia Academy Lady Cougars hung with the Class AAA Faith Academy Lady Rams, but then the Lady Rams overpowered EA for a 71-36 victory Tuesday night in Canoe.
"We did good in the first half and in the first half of the third quarter," EA head coach Keri Payne said. "But then they started to pull away halfway through the third quarter."
Faith jumped out to a 6-0 lead to begin the game, but EA stormed back to tie the score at 6-6. The Lady Rams seemed to pull away for the rest of the quarter, outscoring EA 12-2, but the Lady Cougars came out in the second quarter and matched blow for blow until halftime.
The score at the break was 29-19 Faith and the score in the quarter was 10-10. Faith scored first after halftime, but the Lady Cougars put together a string of three baskets to cut the lead to six points at 31-25, but were outscored 28-6 the rest of the way in the third quarter and 12-5 in the fourth quarter.
"We lost our composure there in the third quarter and we could not hit a shot to save our lives," Payne said. "They got flustered and never recovered. It was almost a flip situation. They were calm and relaxed in the first half and nervous in the fourth quarter."
Payne said one key element of the game killed the shot at a victory for the Lady Cougars.
"We had 22 turnovers and that hurt," she said. "We seemed to be rushing too much there towards the end and we did not take our time."
There is always something a coach can take from a loss and Payne saw a couple good performances from her players.
"Sara Beth (Davis) did a good job in her first start," Payne said. "She was hustling and got some good rebounds. Amber also played well for us off the bench. And Jennifer Morris played really aggressive out there. She might not have shown up on the stat sheet, but she played a good game."
Sophomore Jordan Jaye led the Lady Cougars with 17 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. Jaye was also 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Davis added eight points and three rebounds.
Senior Clare Jones added three points, on a 3-for-4 performance at the free throw line and grabbed nine rebounds. Sophomore Kayleigh Miller had four points. Junior Alaina Arnold contributed three points, four rebounds and one steal.
The Lady Cougars next game is a home game against Fort Dale Academy Nov. 27, beginning at 4 p.m. with the JV girls' game.