Blue Devils win in final play date

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Escambia County High School Blue Devils’ basketball team beat Clarke County 60-49 in its final play date of the summer.

The Blue Devils hosted the exhibition Saturday without returning starter Desmond Williams, who was playing for an AAU team.

“We did great,” coach Earlando Courtney said of the team. “Clarke County has a new coach and they’ve been going through some growing pains, but they will be tough in the area this year.”

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Courtney said the game gave his team a good look at where they are compared to other teams in the area, which includes CCHS, Thomasville and UMS-Wright.

“This is probably the first team we’ve played this summer that we will play during the year,” Courtney said.

He added that, for the most part, ECHS has played above its division this summer, taking on teams like Mountain Brook, Daphne and Theodore. Although playing bigger schools is not a bad thing, the coach admitted.

“It will help prepare us for schools we have to play,” Courtney said. “Our goal is to win a state title  and every game is preparation for the finale. That’s our approach.”

The team’s last summer practice is Saturday and they won’t again practice as a team until school starts and weight training begins.

“It has been great,” Courtney said of summer workouts. “A lot of guys are comfortable in their roles. A lot of guys have found their roles.”

He said one of the goals during the summer workouts is to move guys around and see if they can help in different ways. He said work this summer has helped to define roles for some of his players.

“Everybody now understands his role,” Courtney said.

Players such as Jarvis Knight, Darius McCarthy, Chris Johnson, Dexter Williams, Jerome Webster and Malik McMillan stepped up this summer, Courtney said.

The coach admitted the individual talent on this team isn’t as strong as it was on last year’s team that made it to a state final four, but the teamwork is better.

“The collective way they play together is much, much better than last year,” Courtney said.

Courtney added that he will host a basketball tournament for ages 14-and-up Saturday, Aug. 10 starting at noon. The cost to enter is $25 per team. Contact him at 334-352-5031 for information.