ECHS falls 61-50 to Monroe Co.

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, January 19, 2017

Escambia County's Triston Knott (5) reacts to Monroe County's DeAndre Robinson (23) going to the basket tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia County’s Triston Knott (5) reacts to Monroe County’s DeAndre Robinson (23) going to the basket tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Shots didn’t fall in the second half for Escambia County tonight as the Blue Devils fell 61-50 to Monroe County in area action at Cornell Torrence Gymnasium.

The Blue Devils and Tigers fought a close battle during the first half, adjusting well on man-to-man defense throughout. The game was tied 28-all at the break after Triston Knott hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in the second.

With 5:06 to go in the third, MCHS was ahead 34-32, and after a quick tie, the Tigers went on a 9-0 run to force a lead they’d never give up.

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“We’ve go to be able to fight through a little bit of adversity,” ECHS coach Erin Straughn said. “We can’t just miss it here and there. We’ve got to find a way to get it done. We’ve got to play through it.”

Straughn said from here on out, the Blue Devils are going to have to play quicker and cause turnovers.

“We need to double down on the bigs,” he said.

Additionally, Straughn said the boys need to hit their free shots and high-percentage opportunities.

“If we made a few of them and box out, it would’ve been a much closer game,” he said. “You’ve got to move on and learn from it.”

With the loss, ECHS falls to 11-6 overall, and 3-1 in Class 4A, Area 2. The Blue Devils need to win their next two area games — Saturday at Andalusia and Tuesday at W.S. Neal — to be able to host the area tournament.

“We still got to see what happens,” Straughn said. “We’re still in a good position. We’ve just got to bring it tomorrow and get better for Saturday.”

As for the miss shots, Straughn said he thinks the boys had an off night.

“We had some good looks,” he said. “We usually make them. Tonight, for the most part, from beyond the arc, we were off. When we are off, we’ve just got to do a better job of attacking and finishing through those bigger bodies.”

Early in the third period, Malik Brown found Devon Robinson for an easy bucket to tie the game at 34-all.

However, Gwyan Jones started a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer with 3:23 on the ticker, and Tyler Stallworth followed with a layup a short time later to give the Tigers a 41-34 advantage.

Robinson broke the run with a trey, but MCHS kept attacking the paint as it went ahead 49-40 on a DeAndre Robinson turn-around jumper at the end of the third.

Robinson of MCHS dominated the glass down the stretch, increasing the Monroeville team’s lead in the fourth period.

Brown go a 3-pointer with 5:37 left in the game, and the Blue Devils didn’t take advantage of shot-making opportunities late in the loss.

Robinson led the Blue Devils with 15 points. Brown chipped in 14, and Knott had 9 points.

Robinson led the Tigers with 23 points, Stallworth had 12 and Jones had 11.

ECHS led 11-9 after the first period, and the Tigers outscored the Blue Devils 19-17 in the second period.

In girls action, Monroe County’s Jaya Stewart hit the back-end of a pair of free throws with the game tied to help lead the Lady Tigers to a 31-30 victory over the Lady Blue Devils.

Stewart’s free throw came after snagging a steal on JaQuanda Webster and with 0.3 seconds left.