ECHS claims second
By By Matthew Nascone
Second place is not the ultimate goal, but that is where the Escambia County Blue Devils stood when the dust settled on the Escambia County Tournament Saturday night.
"We are not satisfied with second because one of our goals for the year was to win the Escambia County Tournament," ECHS head coach Anthony Hayes said. "We fell short, but it felt good to get a couple wins."
The Blue Devils (4-7) won two straight games for the first time all season as they defeated the W.S. Neal Eagles and the Flomaton Hurricanes Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The game against Flomaton was a 53-49 win for the Devils, but no walk in the park, according to Hayes.
Atmore led 20-14 after the first quarter, but trailed as the teams went to halftime following a 10-2 second quarter for the Hurricanes. The Blue Devils won the second half 31-25 for the 53-49 victory.
Hayes said there was one key element to the Devils' play.
"Our defensive intensity was big for us down the stretch," he said.
Senior James Lykes led the charge with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Katral James added 9 points. Junior James Webster had 7 points and four steals. Senior DeAngelo Hardy had 6 points. Sophomores Kingston Craft and Lawrence Arnold each had 3 points and Seniors Jarrod Jefferson and Josh Adams and junior Johnathan Gholsby had 2 points apiece.
Blue Devils 47 W.S. Neal 42
The Blue Devils took down the host W.S. Neal Eagles Friday night 47-42.
ECHS led 21-18 at halftime and stretched the lead to 36-29 after the third quarter, but the Eagles outscored ECHS in the final quarter 12-11 for the final of 47-42.
Lykes again led the Blue Devils with 15 points and 11 rebounds. James added 15 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. Webster had 5 points and three steals. Craft added 7 points and Gholsby added 5 points.
Lykes, James and Webster were named to the All-Tournament Team. Lykes had 40 points and 27 rebounds in the tournament. James compiled 32 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Webster had 14 points and 10 steals.
"James Lykes has been our go-to guy on the inside all year long," Hayes said. "Katral has developed into a leader and James Webster brings that defensive spark to our team."
Lady Devils 41 Flomaton 32
The Lady Blue Devils of Escambia County also wrapped up second place Saturday in the Escambia County Tournament with a 41-32 victory over Flomaton.
ECHS head coach Ray Greer said the best part was being able to play every player.
"I felt like we played well and I was real pleased because every girl besides one who missed practice got to play," Greer said. "And all the freshman got to have some time out there with the starters. It was great to get every girl in the book for the Escambia County Tournament."
Junior Courtney English led the Scoring for ECHS (6-6) with 13 points. Junior Tiarra Ankum added 11 points with two three-pointers. Senior Latesha Lee contributed 4 points. Senior Megan Hartley had 3 points and seniors Anushk'a Banks and T.T. Jennings and junior Cassie Johnson had 2 points apiece.
Lady Devils 45 W.S. Neal 39
The host W.S. Neal Lady Eagles put up a fight Friday night, but the Lady Devils came out on top 45-39.
A 15-7 first quarter lead turned into a 22-17 lead at halftime for the Lady Devils, as Neal outscored the Lady Devils 10-7 in the second quarter. A close 23-21 edge in the second half for ECHS was just enough for the win.
Sophomore Jodeci Craft led the scoring with 17 points. English and Lee each added 8 points. Senior Taneika Crimbley added 5 points, sophomore Canausha Crenshaw scored 4 points and Hartley had 3 points.
English, Lee and Jennings made the All-Tournament Team. English had 29 points, Lee had 20 points and Jennings had 8 points, but Greer said Jennings was named to the team because of her defense and rebounding.
"It is great to see T.T. get recognized for her job on the defensive rebounds," Greer said. "She is a force underneath. And offensively Courtney and Latesha were seen in the tournament."