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Harrison, Cougars outduel Warriors

By By Matthew Nascone
To say Tyler Harrison dominated the boards in the Escambia Academy Cougars’ opening area game Tuesday against rival Sparta would be an understatement.
Harrison, a senior, pulled down 26 rebounds and added 17 points and four steals in the Cougars’ 72-70 shootout with the Warriors in Evergreen.
Woods said Harrison’s rebounding prowess and the balanced attack levied on the Warriors proved to be enough to take down Sparta.
That balanced attack saw sophomore James White add 16 points, junior Blake Kirk and sophomore Tank Mitchell score 11 points, junior Seth Lassiter add 8 points, sophomore Michael Hippa contribute 6 points, junior Tyler Brown add 3 points and sophomore Austin Lee score 2 points.
Kirk added 13 rebounds. Mitchell had three rebounds and five steals. White had three rebounds and three steals and Lassiter contributed five rebounds.
EA snagged 52 total rebounds in what Woods called a physical and fast-paced game.
The Cougars (4-8, 1-0 AISA Class AA, Region 1, Area 1) accomplished the first step in their quest for the area title. EA lost to Sparta in the Monroe Christmas Classic in December, and Woods said this game was great vindication for that loss.
The Cougars held an 11-point lead with 2:30 to go, but Sparta fought back and tied the score at 70-70 with nine seconds to play in the game. The Warriors had a chance to win the game, but could not score. Mitchell took the ball up court and was fouled with .4 seconds left on the clock. He nailed both free throws and the Cougars won 72-70.
The Cougars’ game with Wilcox Academy scheduled for Jan. 10 was cancelled because of weather storms in the Camden area Thursday, but it will be rescheduled for a later date. The Cougars’ next game is Tuesday in Jackson against Jackson Academy. Tip off for the JV girls’ game is 4 p.m.
Sparta 70
Lady Cougars 36
The Lady Cougars had a tough time with the pressing defense of the Sparta Lady Warriors for the second time this season on Tuesday, as they lost 70-36.
EA (2-10, 0-1) scored only nine points in the first half of play and committed 34 turnovers on the night. Head coach Keri Payne said it was a tough night for the Lady Cougars.
Sophomore Jordan Jaye led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 15 points and she added 11 rebounds, five blocked shots, two steals and one assist. Senior Clare Jones added 11 points, four steals, three rebounds and two assists. Sophomore Kay Leigh Miller had 4 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Juniors Sara Beth Davis and Alaina Arnold and freshman Amber Huskey each contributed 2 points. Davis added six rebounds, two assists and one steal. Arnold had one rebound and one assist. Huskey added one rebound.
Freshman Taylor Helton had two rebounds and three blocked shots. Sophomore Jennifer Morris had two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Junior Malori McGhee had two assists, one rebound and one block.
JV Cougars 35
Sparta 30
The JV Cougars pulled out the win over rival Sparta Tuesday, 35-30.
Keaton Maher led the scoring with 8 points. Gavin Salter added 4 points and J.P. Solomon, Chase Jaye, Thomas Moore, James Dean and Brandon Goddard each added 2 points.
Sparta 28
JV Lady Cougars 27
The JV Lady Cougars came close to taking down the rival Sparta Lady Warriors Tuesday in Evergreen, but fell 28-27.
The Lady Cougars were behind 20-10 at halftime until Amber Huskey connected on a three-point shot for her first points of the game in the fourth quarter to cut the Sparta lead to 24-20.
EA couldn’t complete the comeback, but EA head coach Larry Bonds said the experience was a good one heading into the state tournament.
Huskey scored 5 points in the game and Rachel Fuller was the leading scorer for the Lady Cougars with 8 points. Taylor Helton added 7 points. Carlie Broughton contributed 3 points and Kristen Matthews and Samantha Lee each scored 2 points.
The Lady Cougars (10-5) were selected as one of six teams to participate in the JV State Tournament Jan. 19 at Wilcox Academy in Camden.
Pee Wee Lady Cougars 12
Sparta 8
The Pee Wee Lady Cougars are made up of the sixth and seventh graders on the EA JV Lady Cougars team and they beat Sparta 12-8 Tuesday.
Paige Allen led the scoring with 6 points and Allie Brooks, Lacey Flowers and Peyton Snider each added 2 points.