Atmore's amazing Arnold

Published 7:04 pm Sunday, January 27, 2008

By By Matthew Nascone
It was Senior Night at Escambia County High School, but the hero of the 50-48 win over area rival Monroe County High School was sophomore Lawrence Arnold.
Arnold went from being the reason the team might lose the game to hero in a matter of 10 seconds. After senior Katral James went the length of the court for the go-ahead basket at 48-47 with 16.9 seconds to play in the game, Arnold made the next three plays of the game.
James was fouled on the go-ahead basket, he missed the free throw, but Arnold grabbed the rebound and was fouled on the way back up. He missed both free throws and picked up a quick foul as Monroe attempted to move the ball up court.
The Tigers were in the double bonus and went to the free throw line for two shots. One was made to tie the score at 48-48 with 6.5 seconds left in the game.
It looked like overtime was going to have to determine which team would be the No. 4 seed in AHSAA Class 4A, Region 1, Area 1 tournament, but Arnold and fellow sophomore Kingston Craft had different plans.
Craft took the inbound pass and pushed the ball down the court, passing the ball off to Arnold at the last second and Arnold put it in for the winning basket as time expired.
"Lawrence was hustling all game and he picked up that foul because he was trying to make something happen," ECHS head coach Anthony Hayes said. "But he did not lose his cool and he ended up scoring the winning basket for us. It was great to see that composure, especially from a 10th grader."
The basket was Arnold's only points of the night. He added two rebounds. Craft led the team with 17 points and had one steal.
Hayes said the tight ball game was no surprise because of the competitive nature of Area 1.
"I expected the game to be that way," he said. "Monroe was ranked early in the season and they are a good team. We lost by 10 up at their place and I knew if we had more defensive intensity we had a shot of beating them. And that was definitely the case tonight."
The win put the Blue Devils (11-12, 3-3) in a tie for the No. 2 seed in the area tournament with Thomasville High School. Jackson High School will host the tournament, with a record of 4-2 and Monroe dropped to 2-4 with the loss Friday.
Hayes said the area seedings came down to Friday night's games. Jackson took out Thomasville for the regular season area championship and ECHS took down Monroe.
The starting lineup was a little different for the Blue Devils because of Senior Night. Hayes honored the 11 seniors on the team by playing them all in the first quarter. He had two teams of seniors that saw considerable playing time.
That first quarter ended with ECHS leading 4-3. The second quarter was a tie at 14-14, but the second half saw an offensive explosion from both teams.
The Tigers stayed with the Devils in the third quarter, tying them 12-12 for the quarter and ECHS outscored Jackson 20-19 in the final period for the win.
"This win was big," Hayes said. "We now will face Thomasville on a neutral site in Jackson and this should be an interesting area tournament because the area has been so even all year."
James had 11 points, six rebounds and one steal. Junior James Webster had 7 points. Senior Derrick Riley added 4 points. Seniors Jarrod Jefferson and Deon Frye had 3 points apiece. Senior DeAngelo Hardy added 2 points and senior James Lykes had 1 point.
Up next for ECHS is a game in Greenville to end the regular season. The area tournament kicks off Feb. 8 in Jackson.

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