Devils edge HEHS Jags on road

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2008

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Blue Devils were locked in a heated battle with Hillcrest-Evergreen High School in Evergreen Saturday night.
ECHS came away with a 61-57 victory over the Jaguars.
"It was a big win for us after the close loss to Jackson the night before," ECHS head coach Anthony Hayes said. "And we have been fortunate these last three games that Kingston Craft has found his stroke and is shooting the ball well."
Craft, a sophomore, led the scoring for ECHS with 21 points. Junior James Webster added 15 points and six steals. Senior Katral James had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Senior James Lykes added 7 points and eight rebounds and senior Jarrod Jefferson had 4 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
"Jarrod came up big for us off the bench in that game," Hayes said. "He got us those extra possessions we needed to win the game."
The Jaguars held an 18-12 lead after the first quarter, but the Devils (9-11, 2-3 AHSAA Class 4A, Region 1, Area 1) outscored them 15-8 in the second quarter and grabbed a 27-26 lead at halftime.
"We caught them on their Senior Night and they were amped up to play," Hayes said.
The Jaguars came out of the half on fire and held a three-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Hayes said the Devils did not give up and they worked hard and got to the free throw line and knocked down the free throws when they needed to. He said that was the key to the game.
Jackson 70 Blue Devils 68
The Blue Devils let a chance to be tied for first place in the area slip right through their fingers in a 70-68 road loss Jan. 18 to Jackson High School.
But the game was decided on the free throw line, according to Hayes.
"They shot 60 free throws and got away with a two-point win," he said. "But that was the type of game it was. We also caught them when they wanted to play their best on Senior Night."
The Aggies were 33-for-60 from the charity stripe and 8-for-20 in the fourth quarter.
The Devils had a three-point shot at the buzzer clang away, but Hayes said he was proud of the effort.
"It was a tough loss for us," Hayes said. "But we knew Jackson was a tough place to play and we will just try to win Friday night and get the No. 2 spot."
ECHS trailed 20-19 after the first quarter and 41-39 at the half, but they held a 57-55 lead heading into the final period.
Hayes said all the free throws the Aggies attempted and made were a huge difference in the game. Jackson only scored 37 points from the floor and the rest was from the free throw line.
Craft again led the way for the Blue Devils with 22 points. James added 14 points. Webster had 10 points. Senior Deon Frye added 7 points. Lykes and senior Josh Adams contributed 4 points and junior Johnathan Gholsby, Jefferson and senior Derrick Riley each had 2 points.
The Blue Devils traveled to Brewton for a game against archrival T.R. Miller Tuesday and the results of that game will be in an upcoming Advance. Up next for ECHS is the area finale at home against Monroe County Friday night beginning at 4:45 with the tip of the B team boys' game.

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