Blue Devils take area at buzzer

Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fred Knight takes a jump shot in Friday’s win. .

Fred Knight, the Blue Devils’ leading scorer this season, was having a bad shooting night Friday against UMS-Wright, but that didn’t matter when the game ended and Escambia County High School had taken the area crown.

With eight seconds left in the 41-38 win, the senior point guard, who was three-for-13 from the field, connected on a deep three-pointer to give the Blue Devils the area title and maintain a perfect area record.

“It started out as a pick-and-roll for Tony (McAdory) and Desmond (Williams),” coach Earlando Courtney said. “They pushed us so far out that the pick-and-roll was beyond the three-point line. Fred did what a primetime player is supposed to do.”

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Courtney said he was happy that his team was able to take the final shot because that hasn’t always been in the case in close games this season.

“We played a couple of games this season where we’ve had similar situations and turned the ball over,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we got the final shot. I was happy with (Knight) taking the shot.”

The Blue Devils started strong, going on a 6-2 run to start the game, but the Bulldogs cut the lead to two points at 11-9 to end the first quarter.

Despite one of Williams three blocks in the game, the Bulldogs were able to tie the score at 14 and then take the lead on their ensuing possession with 3:36 left.
The game went back and forth with both McAdory and Knight tying the game up for ECHS until the Bulldogs hit a three-pointer with 1:18 left to put them up 22-19 at halftime.

McAdory hit two foul shots to open the scoring in the third quarter and bring the game within one, but UMS-Wright drained another three-pointer to take a four-point lead. McAdory hit a floater in the lane to cut the lead to 25-23 with 6:03 left in the quarter.

Albert Dortch tied the game at 25 with a basket at the 5:30 mark. Williams got another block, but the Blue Devils turned the ball over and the Bulldogs went up four with 1:21 left.

The quarter ended with a 29-25 UMS-Wright lead.

The Bulldogs struck first in the final quarter, taking a 31-25 lead with 6:54 left in the game. Williams hit a floater and completed a three-point play on the ensuing Blue Devils’ possession to cut the Bulldog lead to 33-30 with 5:16 left.

Williams scored again to cut the lead to 33-32 with 4:21 left. The Bulldogs answered with one-of-two free throws to take a 34-32 lead.

McAdory tied the game at 34 apiece with 2:32 left. Williams gets a rebound and put back to tie the game at 36 on the ensuing possession.

The teams traded turnovers before UMS-Wright took a two-point lead with a minute left.

Williams picked up another rebound and put back to tie the score at 38.

Williams, a junior center, finished with 22 points and nine rebounds in the win. Knight finished with eight points and McAdory added 11.
Courtney praised the defense for keeping the game close against one of the best teams in the area.

“The defense really won the game for us,” Courtney said. “Shots weren’t falling and they weren’t letting us run like we like to do.”

The win means ECHS will host the area tournament, which begins Friday.

ECHS followed the area-clinching win up with a 64-54 victory over rival Baldwin County High School Saturday in Atmore.

The Blue Devils led 29-17 at halftime and held a six to eight point lead throughout most of the contest, Courtney said.

Williams led the team in scoring and had a double-double against the Tigers with 24 points and 13 rebounds.