EA’s McGhee hits career milestone

Published 7:56 pm Friday, February 10, 2012

Escambia Academy Cougar Darren McGhee puts up a shot against Jackson.

Eight points was all Escambia Academy senior Darren McGhee needed to hit a career milestone of 1,000 points in last Saturday’s region tournament championship game against the Patrician Academy Saints.

Coming into the contest against Patrician, McGhee knew what he needed to hit 1,000 career points, but was more focused on getting a win.

“I wasn’t keeping up with my points once the game started, I was just trying to help my team win that game,” he said. “I was nervous coming into the game because they told me how many points I needed, but once I hit 1,000 and everyone started cheering, I played better and finished with about 23 points.”

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With McGhee leading the way in the championship game, the Cougars played to the final buzzer, but fell 50-48.

Despite falling in the game, McGhee hit his milestone and his team was moving on to the Elite 8.

Hitting the achievement was a thrilling moment, McGhee said.

“It was super exciting,” he said. “All the fans went crazy, and it was real exciting even though we lost.”

McGhee has been playing for the Cougars varsity since ninth being moved up from junior varsity for the region tournament in 2009.
The move up to varsity was one that McGhee earned through hard work.

It was also the first year he had played any sports at EA.

“Coach (Kevin) Woods helped me out a lot,” he said. “He moved me up for the region tournament in ninth grade, and from there I began to get better. That was my first year playing, and I just caught on real fast.”

Fast forward to 2012, McGhee now sits with more than 1,000 points and has his team in the AISA Final Four.

Getting this far is something that has McGhee and his teammates happy because of how 2011 ended.

Sitting undefeated in the region tournament, the Cougars lost to Patrician Academy ending their season.

This time, the Cougars still lost to Patrician, but still made it to the AISA’s big dance. They beat Restoration on Thursday and will play Evangel Christian Academy on Tuesday.

The difference is the team work involved, McGhee said.

“We are playing more like a team this year,” he said. “We know everybody’s capablities, and work together well. It means a lot to us to be in the Final Four, and having so much fan support has been great.”

McGhee and the Cougars face Evangel at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.