Cougars fall in regional championships

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, January 30, 2016

GREENVILLE — Escambia Academy battled back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth period to cut the game to three points, but Hooper Academy held on down the stretch to win 53-47 in the AISA Class 3A, Region 2 Championship tonight.

The Cougars trailed 48-28 with more than 6 minutes to go, and the comeback started when Louie Turner was fouled on a potential three-point play. Turner missed the extra point, but Tyler Sells picked him up after a steal as he drove the lane for a bucket at Fort Dale Academy.

Bradley Geck later got a rebound and putback to make it 49-34, and Turner got his old-fashioned three-point play with more than 4 minutes to go.

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After getting another stop on defense, Sells converted a layup to cut it to 10 at 49-39, and Trae Lee found Gary Campbell under the rim for an easy shot.

Turner got a steal at halfcourt and made a layup to put the game at 49-43. Lee drained a 3-pointer for a 49-46 game.

Hooper Academy’s Ty Bolton then made the back-end of a pair, and Geck added a free throw, but the Cougars trailed 51-47.

Bolton drained a pair of free throws to ice the game for good with 7.4 seconds left.

“I was proud of the way we battled back,” EA coach Hugh Fountain said. “The thing is when you look back at the film; at the end, we had every opportunity to win the ball game. Free throws were the difference. We hit them in the first half.

“We ended up having to foul them, which opened up the gap,” he said.

EA moves on as the No. 2 seed going into the 2016 AISA Class 3A Elite 8 Tournament next week. As the runner up, the Cougars’ next game will be Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Multiplex.

Bolton, who scored four 3-pointers in the third period, led HA with 30 points. He was also named the tournament most valuable player.

Sells led EA with 13 points; Turner had nine; and Lee and Blake Allen had six points each.

Sells and Lee made the all-tournament team.

After a slow start, the Cougars led 5-4 after the first period, and regrouped to outscore HA 17-16 in the second period.


Fort Dale Academy girls 42, Escambia Academy girls 36

The Lady Cougars couldn’t overcome a foul fest against the Lady Eagles, falling in the regional title game earlier this afternoon.

EA coach Cale Thompson said the girls got in foul trouble and missed to many free throws in the game.

“I told them after the game, even though they were upset, that we won a big game (Friday against Pike Liberal Arts),” he said. “That win gave us a chance to not finish either as a three or four seed.”

Alia Snow and Mikayla Spruill showed their stuff in the first period en route to a 9-5 lead, but the Lady Eagles slowed the game down a bit, forcing fouls.

Bailey Lancaster drained a 3-pointer early in the second to give EA a 16-12 lead. Cassidy Murphy added a turnaround jumper for a 18-14 lead.

Fort Dale’s Madison Gaston then made two one-and-ones to take a 19-18 lead.

However, Spruill drained a 3-pointer for a 22-20 advantage.

Gaston addea 3-pointer of her own as the Lady Eagles led 23-22.

EA led 24-23 at halftime.

The Lady Cougars had 15 fouls, compared to Fort Dale’s 11 in the first half. EA had three players with three fouls each at the break.

FDA then went on to outscore EA 19-6 in the third period to lead 32-30 going into the fourth.

Madison Langford drove the baseline to give the Lady Eagles a 38-32 lead late.

Snow got a bucket to go, and drained a pair of free throws, but the Lady Cougars couldn’t come back out on top.

Snow led EA with 15 points; Spruill had 12 points; and Lancaster had six points.

Gaston led FDA with 16 points.

Langford, Spruill, Castleberry and Gaston (MVP) were named to the all-tournament team.

The Lady Cougars enter the Elite 8 state tournament as the No. 2 seed. First game will be Thursday at noon.