Devils back on top!

Published 7:41 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Escambia County Blue Devils show off their area tournament championship plaque that they won with wins over Saraland and B.C. Rain in the area tournament held in Atmore on Friday and Monday night.|Photo by AJ Beachy

It had been five long years for the Escambia County Blue Devils’ basketball program.

Five years since the team had won an area tournament until Monday night’s 75-53 win over the B.C. Rain Rams.

The No. 7 Blue Devils (22-7) dominated their entire area schedule in the regular season finshing 6-0 and capped off area play by dominating B.C. Rain and Saraland in the opening game of the tournament 71-38.

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Blue Devils head coach Anthony Hayes said he is proud of his team for winning the area.

“Myself and coach (Jerome) Webster are proud of the guys for accomplishing a goal they set at the beginning of the season,” he said. “They all have bought into our system and they believe and the coaching staff believes in each one of them.”

Escambia County’s quest for the area championship looked like it was never in doubt in the championship game with the Blue Devils opening the game by outscoring the Rams 21-12.

The Blue Devils continued to pound the Rams in the second quarter as they outhustled B.C. Rain 19-11 to roll into halftime leading 40-23.

Following halftime, the Blue Devils needed two more strong quarters to pick up the area title.

With a comfortable lead, the Blue Devils came out in the third quarter and continued to play team basketball outscoring the Rams 17-15.

Leading 57-38 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils put together one final run outscoring the Rams 18-15 to pick up the win 75-53 and their first area title in five years.

Hayes said his team put forth a strong effort against a respectable opponent.

“We had a great team effort the entire game,” he said. “Our hats go off to B.C. Rain. They are a very worthy opponent that played hard for four quarters.”

The Blue Devils received a lot of points from several key players.

C.J. Pierce led ECHS with 24 points in the win, while T.C. Brown finished with 16 of his own.

Dalvin Craft also finished with double-digits recording 11 points and Andrew Rodgers scored nine.

Rounding out the Blue Devils scoring were Fred Knight with six points; Tony McAroy scored five points and Peter Myers added four points.

With the area championship in hand, the Blue Devils now focus on hosting a subregional game against the Jackson Aggies on Friday night.

Hayes said Jackson is an impressive team that will pose a test.

“We are looking forward to playing a talented group from Jackson,” he said. “This is ball club that was ranked for most of the season and we are aware of that. At this point in the season, every game we play will be a test and we are excited to be a part of it for the community, the school and our athletic program. We need everyone to come out in their blue and show these young men some support and that everyone is behind them.”

The Blue Devils and Aggies tip off on Friday night at 7 p.m. at ECHS.

Blue Devils 71

Spartans 40

Escambia County opened the area tournament last Friday night the way finished area play in the regular season, with a win.

The Blue Devils (21-7) put together another impressive win over the Saraland Spartans crushing them 71-40.

Atmore led from start to finish as they put together four impressive quarters against Saraland.

In the first quarter, the Spartans were able to keep the game close as they only allowed the Blue Devils to take a 15-12 lead.

Escambia County built on their lead in the second quarter as they began to outhustle Saraland as they outscored them 15-14.

At halftime, the Blue Devils led 29-20.

Following the break, ECHS really opened up their offense as they dominated the final two periods of play.

In the third quarter, the Blue Devils pounded the Spartans on both ends of the court as they outscored them 22-5.

Escambia County continued to play strong basketball in the fourth period outscoring the Spartans again 19-15 to come away with the 71-40 win.

Blue Devils head coach Anthony Hayes said he was happy with how his team played.

“I’m really proud of our guys for coming out and getting the job done,” he said. “Saraland came out with a lot of energy and we knew they would. They have a good young team and our hats go off to that bunch.”