Cougars JV state runner-up

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Escambia Academy’s junior varsity Cougars basketball squad finished as the No. 2 junior varsity team in the state with a 1-1 finish at the AISA state tournament last Saturday.

The Cougars faced off against the Sparta Academy Warriors to open the tournament and lost to the Lowndes Academy Rebels in the championship game, which handed them their first loss of the season putting their record at 11-1.

Rebels 35

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Cougars 32

The championship game of the AISA junior varsity state tournament proved to be a battle as the Escambia Academy Cougars and Lowndes Academy Rebels played down to the final wire to determine the champion.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Rebels had pulled off a comeback in the second half to come away with narrow 35-32 win over the Cougars of Canoe.

Escambia Academy looked strong as the game opened with the Cougars picking up where they left off following the Sparta game as they jumped out to a comfortable 11-7 lead.

In the second quarter, the Cougars continued to look impressive as they built on their lead outscoring the Rebels 9-5 before halftime to go into the break leading 20-12.

With just two quarters left, the Cougars looked to stay on top of the Rebels, while Lowndes was hoping to creep back into the game.

Momentum swung in the third quarter as the Rebels found their groove and began chipping away at the Cougars’ lead.

Lowndes made the most of their offensive opportunities as they outscored the Cougars 13-6 in the period to pull within one point of EA.

Leading 26-25 with one quarter to decide the championship, the Cougars fought to hold their lead over the Rebels.

It was a battle to the finish, but the Cougars would be overtaken by the Rebels who outscored EA 10-6 to come away with the junior varsity state title.

Leading the way for the Cougars in the championship game was Garrett Kirk who posted 10 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and one assist.

Escambia Academy’s Brett Helton added nine points in the game and also pulled down one board, while Scott Brantley scored five points with one rebound recorded.

Zac Demco and Jacob Dean each scored four points in the loss. Demco led all Cougars with 11 rebounds, while also recording three steals, two assists and a blocked shot. Dean finished with five rebounds and two assists.

Cougars 35

Warriors 30

Escambia Academy was led by Garrett Kirk’s double-double in the team’s first game of the AISA junior varsity state tournament.

Kirk led the way with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Cougars defeated Sparta Academy Warriors 35-30. He also recorded two assits, two steals and one block.

The Cougars (11-0) were in a fight from the start as the two rivals battled back-and-forth for a chance to play in the junior varsity state championship game.

In the first quarter, the Warriors started out hotter than the Cougars as they outscored EA 8-4.

The Cougars found a spark in the second period though as they were able to take the lead before halftime outscoring the Warriors 15-7 to go into the break leading 19-15.

Following halftime, the two teams continued to fight it out in a close game with neither side willing to give ground.

The Cougars went ice cold in the third quarter only mustering two points in the entire period as the Warriors took the lead back 23-21.

Escambia Academy would not be denied their shot at a championship though as they gave a tremendous effort in the final quarter.

The Cougars scored 14 points and used their defense to hold the Warriors to seven as they came away with the 35-30 win.

Supporting Kirk’s performace were Cougars Jacob Dean and Zac Demco. Dean finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while Demco recorded eight rebounds and two blocks.

Brett Helton rounded out the scoring for EA with six points. He also recorded three rebounds.