A bright future

Published 2:19 pm Sunday, January 20, 2013

ECHS' basketball program is on fire as the Blue Devil freshman knocked off two local teams in Saturday's tournament.

Escambia County High School head basketball coach Earlando Courtney said the future of the school’s basketball program is bright if Saturday’s dominating performance by the freshman team is any indication.

As the varsity basketball squad at ECHS prepared for another area match up on Tuesday, the Blue Devil freshman team was able to take center stage Saturday during a home-court tournament.

The Devils wasted no time demonstrating their home court advantage as the ninth grade team knocked off both the Northview Chiefs and the previously undefeated Murphy Panthers.

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Courtney said he was impressed with the team he called the future of the Blue Devil program.

“Our guys just stepped up at home,” Courtney said following the tournament. “We had a great game between our freshman and Murphy’ freshmen. No one’s beaten them the entire year, but our guys beat them yesterday.”

After knocking off Northview, the ECHS ninth graders defeated Murphy 42-40 in a game that was decided by a last-second, game-winning shot by ECHS’ Gaegyn Thames.

Courtney attributed the win to great coaching by Gavin King and tough play from the young squad.

“Gavin just did a great job,” Courtney said. “It was just gritty play. Murphy is bigger than we are, but we are faster.”

Courtney said the best part of Saturday’s wins was seeing the future of his varsity team in action.

“It’s just a great testament to the program and the kids we have in it,” Courtney said.

Courtney’s varsity squad will hit the hardwood again Tuesday at home in an area match-up repeat against Clarke County. Tip off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.