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EA Cougars drop close decision to Wilcox in opening round of area tourney

By By Matthew Nascone
By the end of the first quarter Friday, it looked like the Escambia Academy Cougars were headed for an easy slide into the AISA Class AA, Region 1, Area 1 championship game, but the Wilcox Academy Wildcats had a different outcome ready for EA.
The Wildcats rode a 17-1 run in the second quarter to a 20-16 halftime lead and a 39-37 victory over EA in the first round of the area tournament.
Woods said the Cougars had too many bad shots and turnovers in the game to come out with a win, but they gave it a shot, outscoring Wilcox 11-8 in the fourth quarter. EA sophomore Michael Mitchell fired a three-pointer as time expired, but the ball fell harmlessly to the floor and the Cougars were sent home for the season with a bitter two-point loss, but Woods said the comeback effort in the fourth quarter was good to see.
The Cougars trailed 36-28 when Brown hit his first three-pointer, bringing the score to 36-31 with just less than four minutes to play. WA scored a basket, pushing the lead to 38-31, but Brown found the same spot on the floor and sunk another three-ball, cutting the lead to 38-34 with 3:10 showing on the clock.
Mitchell decided to get in on the three-point frenzy, connecting with 58 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to 38-37. Wilcox played keep away until the Cougars fouled with 11.4 seconds left on the clock. The first free throw was true, but the second clanged away and EA got the ball with 4.6 seconds left. Mitchell’s three-pointer barely missed and the Wildcats went on to the championship game.
Mitchell led the Cougars with 13 points. He added three rebounds, five assists and seven steals. Senior Tyler Harrison had seven points, 14 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots.
Sophomore James White had seven points, two rebounds and one block. Brown had six points. Junior Seth Lassiter had four points and one rebound. Junior Blake Kirk added 10 rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Austin Lee had three rebounds and junior Alan Ash had one rebound.