Blue Devil ballers look to future

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Escambia County High School boys’ basketball team that reached the Class 4A state Final Four last year might have a different look next season, but the goal will be the same.

“Our goal every year is to win the state title,” said coach Earlando Courtney.

That road began Thursday when the Blue Devils competed in four games in Selma during one of four summer play dates allowed by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

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ECHS went 1-3 in the four games against Dallas County, Selma, Central-Hayneville and Pickens County.

Courtney said the young team will improve and will be ready when the season starts. The Blue Devils will have to fill spots in the lineup left by departing seniors Tyrell Ford and Fred Knight as well as Tony McAroy, who transferred to Northview.

He said inexperience bit them in the exhibitions.

“We had a lot of new guys,” he said. “We had several guys with deer-in-the-headlights looks.”

He added that, despite its size, the team lacked physically on the glass.

“We were taking punches instead of delivering punches,” Courtney said. “We weren’t physical enough in the paint.”

Courtney said the team would build around a core of returning players that includes Desmond Williams, Malik McMillan, Jerome Webster and shooters Josh Hill and Jarvis Knight.

“The pieces are going to be different, but the results will be the same,” Courtney said. “We’ve got size, we’ve got shooters and a point guard who wants to get everyone involved.”

Courtney said Hill and Jarvis Knight would “have green lights to shoot” when they’re on the court.

ECHS played its second play date Tuesday in Robertsdale as it took on Spanish Fort, Daphne and Theodore. Results weren’t available as of press time. The team will play three games as part of a play date June 18 in Enterprise and a final three games in Montgomery on June 29.