Blue Devils edge Monroe County, 41-40

Published 9:45 pm Friday, December 4, 2015

Escambia County used good defense against Monroe County to edge the Tigers, 41-40 tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia County used good defense against Monroe County to edge the Tigers, 41-40 tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

A solid defensive effort by Escambia County paved the way for a 41-40 victory over rival Monroe County tonight in Cornell Torrance Gymnasium.

Throughout the entire contest, the point difference didn’t go above seven as both teams utilized their strengths to target weaknesses.

For MCHS, the Tigers used their size and speed to get to the paint and grab crucial rebounds. The Blue Devils used their man-to-man press and took the ball away from their rivals on the pass.

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“It was a great effort,” ECHS boys coach Bruce Craig said. “I’m proud of these boys. They fought to the end. It was great to see them fight.”

At the end of the first period, the Blue Devils (5-3) led by their largest margin at 14-MCHS then clawed its way back in the game in the second after Franky Banks found Desmond Stevens on the other end for an easy lay up with less than three minutes left in the first half.

Trae Thompson got a put back with 1:18 left to give ECHS a 16-15 lead, but the Tigers made one last shot to take a one-point lead into the break.

The Blue Devils came out firing in the second half.

Triston Knott drained a 3-pointer, Devon Robinson hit the back-end of a free pair and Eric Williams almost completed a three-point play with 2:21 left in the third period. ECHS and MCHS were tied, 22-22.

MCHS took advantage of some missed shots by ECHS and went ahead 26-22, but that didn’t last long as Knott connected with Robinson for an easy shot under the basket.

Anthony Fountain then got a big block and then scored on the other end to start a short four-point spurt, which the Blue Devils would carry into the fourth with a 28-26 lead.

Every time the Blue Devils would punch, the Tigers would punch back in the fourth period.

Monroe County’s DeAndre Robinson made a pair to cut the lead to two at 30-28, and his teammate, Tyler Stallworth, converted on a lay up to tie the game.

Devon Robinson then made the back-end of a pair, Williams drained two from the line and Knott hit a key 3-pointer to give the Blue Devils a 36-30 lead.

Robinson then scored the Tigers’ next four points on drives to the basket, but Williams added a 3-pointer to counter with a 39-34 advantage.

ECHS guard Devonté Lee drove the base line a few minutes later, and the Blue Devils led 41-38.

MCHS cut it to one with 16.5 seconds left after a pair of free throws from DeAndre Robinson, after which ECHS took a timeout to talk things over.

Knott then made an errant pass, which deflected off of a player’s hands, out of bounds to force the Tigers to take a timeout with 8.5 seconds left.

On the MCHS inbound, the Tigers put a shot up, but a stellar rebounding effort by the Blue Devils negated any chance for the visiting team to stay undefeated.

Williams led ECHS with 14 points. Knott chipped in nine, and Robinson had six.

Stallworth led MCHS with 13 points, and Robinson had 12.

“We made the right adjustments and kept the pressure up on them,” Craig said. “This is a good rivalry win for us.”

In girls action, the Lady Blue Devils won, 40-25.

Jade Adams led ECHS with 15 points. JaQuanda Webster added 13.

ECHS will be back in action at home on Tuesday against Northview before it will host its annual tournament.