EA boys, girls fall at Elite 8

Published 7:25 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

Escambia Academy's Bradley Geck (3) makes a jump shot late in today's game against Bessemer Academy. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia Academy’s Bradley Geck (3) makes a jump shot late in today’s game against Bessemer Academy. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia Academy’s boys and girls basketball teams fell in the quarterfinals of the 2016 AISA Class 3A Elite 8 State Tournament today at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

Defending state champion Bessemer Academy used a strong third period and dominated the paint in a 79-72 victory over the Cougars; and Tuscaloosa Academy topped the Lady Cougars 61-35 in a rout.

Bessemer Academy 79, Escambia Academy 72

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Rebels took a 41-39 lead in the third period and never looked back after initiating a strong man-to-man defense and inside offensive game.

BA’s Jordan Jones got a rebound and putback to tie it at 37-all, and gave the defending champs the lead they’d never give up on a 3-point play.

Tyler Sells drove the lane to cut the lead a little closer, and Louie Turner added a layup to keep the game close.

However, BA kept attacking the paint and went ahead 48-43 with 4:07 left in the third on an old-fashioned 3-point play from BA’s Sam Webb.

After an EA timeout, the Rebels went on a 8-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Sam Bowie.

“The third quarter did it,” EA coach Hugh Fountain said. “Give them credit. They were driving to the basket. In the first half, we prevented them from driving to the basket pretty well.”

Fountain said the Rebels’ change in defense caused the boys to pick up their pace a bit.

“We missed a lot of easy layups,” he said. “I was proud of our effort, but it was not one of our best defensive games, as far as rebounding. In the first half, we rebounded great. We were ahead on the rebounds.

“They got a lot of second-chance shots (in the second half),” he said.

EA’s Blake Allen went up for a shot, but missed and was picked up by Fred Flavors, who got a basket at the buzzer.

BA led 60-49 going into the fourth period.

Sells, a senior, took over for the Cougars in the fourth, going in for layups and dishing the ball when needed. He scored 11 of his 18 points in the final period.

The Cougars didn’t get off to a good start as their big man, Trae Lee, went down with a lower back injury. Lee didn’t return for the rest of the game.

Forty-five seconds into the game, Lee drove the base line and took a hard fall off of a foul.

Bradley Geck came in for Lee and quickly made his presence known by scoring eight of his 22 points in the first period.

Due to Geck’s hot start, the Cougars led 7-1 and after a HT Fountain 3-pointer, the good guys were up 10-1.

BA started to chip the lead away from the perimeter as Brandon Cook drained a trey; Ryan Stoves got a putback to go; and Kevin Morris laid it in to cut the lead to 12-8.

Allen made it 14-10 with a jumper.

EA led 14-12 after the first period.

The Cougars gave up the lead in the second period, but tied it after Ben Martin made an easy bucket.

Gary Campbell later tied the game twice on two 3-pointers.

Sells added a 3-pointer for a 30-27 lead.

At the break, the Cougars led 37-35.

Turner chipped in 15 points for the Cougars.

EA finished its season 15-8.

Tuscaloosa Academy 61, Escambia Academy 35

The game was tied 13-13 with more than seven minutes remaining in the first half, but TA surged ahead and never looked back.

Alia Snow scored a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 18-16, and later found Bailey Lancaster on a nice pass.

Mikayla Spruill, a senior, drained a 1-and-1 to tie it at 20-20.

With its full-court press engaged, EA seemed to have TA on the ropes, but the Tuscaloosa girls used fast-break opportunities on the offensive end to capitalize.

TA led 27-22 at halftime.

TA outscored EA 21-6 in the third period, and led by as much as 30 in the fourth.

Snow led EA with 13 points. Lancaster chipped in seven, and Spruill had five.