ECHS basketball team hopes for return to Birmingham

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Desmond Williams goes up for a jump ball last year for the Blue Devils.

Desmond Williams goes up for a jump ball last year for the Blue Devils.


Hopes are high for the Escambia County High School basketball team, when their season tips off on Monday, Nov. 4.

The team is coming off its second-straight Class 4A “Final Four” appearance and will be trying to defend a region title as well.

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“It’s going to be a challenge, but I expect good things,” coach Earlando Courtney said.

One of the main challenges facing the Blue Devils this year will be trying to replace three key players in Tyrell Ford and Fred Knight, as well as Tony McAroy, who transferred to Northview this year.

Another change is a move for Desmond Williams from the post to the wing, Courtney said, to help prepare the 6-foot-5 senior for college ball. Dexter Williams, a 6-foot-7 junior, will take over in the middle.

Forwards Melik McMillan and Chris Johnson will also feature prominently in the lineup, as will Jarvis Knight and Josh Hill, whom Courtney calls “the two best shooters I’ve ever coached.”

Courtney will also rely on “phenomenal” young talent in Triston Knott and Chille Ford.

The Blue Devils open the season Monday, Nov. 4, at 4:30 p.m., at Blount High School. They look to rebound from a less-than-stellar summer play date record that Courtney said isn’t indicative of his team’s true talent.

“Summer games don’t really count as far as summer practice goes,” Courtney said. “I was trying to play guys out of position … I was basically experimenting.”

The team has a much tougher schedule this year, Courtney said, but that’s so the Blue Devils will be “battle tested” for region play and beyond.

“I don’t expect our record to be as good as it has been in the past,” he said. “I want them to be battle tested for the playoffs. Everything I do is tied to trying to win a state championship.”

The Blue Devils’ first home game is Friday, Nov. 8, against Williamson. ECHS’s regional rivals this year include UMS-Wright, Clarke County and Thomasville.