Tough ending

Published 10:39 am Monday, February 20, 2012

EA's Jaylen Henry goes up for a shot during the Cougar's Final Four match up.

Speed proved to be difference in the Escambia Academy Cougars’ Final Four match up against the Evangel Christian Academy Lions Tuesday night in Montgomery.

The Lions used their athleticism to jump ahead early and finished strong to come away with an 83-53 victory over the Cougars.

The Cougars earned the chance to play in the AISA Final Four by defeating the Restoration Academy Bulldogs 46-38 in last week’s Elite 8 match up.

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It was a mismatch from the opening tip, but the Cougars made the most of their opportunity in the semifinal match up giving the Lions (26-5) all they could handle despite losing by 30.

The contest was a stark contrast to the first match up earlier in the season when the Cougars (20-8) lost by more than 40 points.

In the first quarter, the Cougars had trouble getting the ball down the court facing a stiff press from the Lions. Escambia Academy did what they could to overcome the press, but at the end of the quarter, they trailed 18-8.

Evangel extended their lead over the Cougars in the second quarter using a 27-15 run to roll into halftime leading 45-23.

Following halftime, the Cougars played more competitive with the Lions although they continued to fall further behind.

In the third quarter, EA played their best quarter posting 18 points, but allowed Evangel to get 24 to increase their lead by six points.

The teams battled for points in the fourth quarter with the Cougars looking to keep the game respectable, as they were outscored 14-12 to fall 83-53.

Cougar Darren McGhee led EA with 16 points in the loss and also posted three rebounds.

Cougars Jordan Sasser and Brett Helton each scored seven points in the loss. Sasser also had four rebounds and three assists, while Helton had three rebounds.

Cougar Brandon Goddard chipped in six points, two rebounds and two asssists, while Bryant Lambert posted five points, one rebound and one assist.

Robert Whatley, Jaylen Henry and Garrett Kirk all scored four points in the loss. Kirk and Henry each had two rebounds, while Lambert had one rebound and one assist.