Blue Devils in motion
By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Blue Devils racked up their first win of the young season Nov. 20 in the consolation game of the Spanish Fort Thanksgiving Tournament by beating Class 6A Alma Bryant 66-49.
"That was a big win for us," ECHS head coach Anthony Hayes said. "We needed that one for morale and I hope we can use that and build on it for the rest of the season."
Hayes said after the Blue Devils (1-2) stumbled in the first two games of the season he knew a change had to be made.
"We changed the scheme we were running," he said. "We ran a set scheme for the first couple of games and against Alma Bryant we went to a motion scheme and that allowed the guys to run with structure. It worked out well for us."
Kingston Craft led the Blue Devils with 16 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win.
"Kingston went off that night and he had a great game," Hayes said.
Lee Watson added 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. Katral James contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds. James Lykes and Jonathan Gulsby added 8 points each and Lawrence Arnold had 6 points.
The win secured third place in the tournament. Other teams in the tournament were 6A Spanish Fort and 5A Dallas County.
Spanish Fort 51 Blue Devils 43
In the opening game of the tournament Nov. 19, the host Spanish Fort Toros took down the Blue Devils to the tune of 51-43.
"We had a tough game on the road at their place that first game," Hayes said. "We didn't execute and we missed free throws. They (Spanish Fort) made their free throws and that won them the game."
The Toros went to the charity stripe 25 times compared to 10 times for ECHS. The Devils were 3-for-10 from the line.
James led the way with 12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"Katral had a great game and he has been the most consistent player for us," Hayes said. "He has been scoring points and crashing the boards well so far this year."
Lykes had 10 points and five rebounds. Gulsby added 8 points and three rebounds. Watson contributed 6 points. David Quarker had 4 points. Craft added 3 points and Arnold had 2 points.
Bay Minette 82 Blue Devils 53
The Blue Devils came out cold in the opening game of the season Nov. 17 against Class 6A Baldwin County High School and could not heat up, losing 82-53.
The Tigers knocked down 10 three-pointers on the night and scored the first 11 points of the game.
"Their guys were shooting really well and we just couldn't score," Hayes said. "But our guys never quit, but it did not help that we were on the road in a hostile environment for our first game of the season."
The Blue Devils trailed 23-9 after the first quarter and 48-26 at halftime. The second half was a little better for ECHS. The Tigers won the second half 34-27.
"We cut the lead to 11 at one point, but they nailed two three-pointers and it was back up to 17," Hayes said. "But I think we are getting better now and we are learning on the fly."
Lykes led the scoring for ECHS with 15 points. Craft had 11 points. James added 10 points. Josh Adams contributed 7 points. DeAngelo Hardy had 3 points. Watson, Arnold and Quarker had 2 points each and Gulsby had 1 point.
The Blue Devils host Hillcrest-Evergreen Friday. Tip off is set for 6:15 p.m.