Flavors’ buzzer beater lifts Cougars over Russell Christian

Published 9:35 pm Friday, January 20, 2017

EA beats Warriors 58-56; finish undefeated at home for regular season

Escambia Academy’s Fred Flavors’ layup before the buzzer helped the Cougars to a 58-56 senior night victory over Russell Christian in Canoe earlier this evening.

With the game tied at 56-all and with time ticking away on the clock, the Warriors held the ball until around the 13-second mark, when Zay Heidelberg drove for the basket. Heidelberg then tried for a pass, but Flavors was there and took the ball down the other end for the go-ahead winner.

“We just kept playing good defense,” Flavors said after the game. “We brought Kris (Brown) in to bring in some speed. All we needed was some speed and aggressiveness.

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“They thought they had us,” he said. “We just stole the ball, and went up for the layup.”

While Flavors’ game winner was clutch for the fourth-ranked Cougars, EA battled throughout the contest, coming back from a 14-point deficit at the half to make the game manageable in the third period and tying the contest up after an 11-0 run in the fourth. In the first period, the home team trailed 12-0.

“I just know we didn’t quit,” EA coach Hugh Fountain said. “We were down by a lot and we didn’t quit.

“We battled back,” he said. “At the end of the game, we out-hustled them. I think we just can take pride in hustling and winning.”

With the win, the Cougars improve to 13-1 overall, and finish the regular season undefeated at home. EA’s lost one game at home in two years.

Fountain said it was important for the guys to get a win.

“It was a team effort for us,” he said.

In the third period, EA got started quick when Thomas Knight sank 4 points from the gate. Warriors’ guard Taylor Wood answered with a drive a short time later, and the Mississippi team led 42-26.

The Cougars took a timeout with 4:51 left, and from the break, EA senior Gary Campbell started a 12-5 run with four-straight 3-pointers.

Russell Christian stayed in the game with the help of Heidelberg and Jeremiah Hall. Hall and Heidelberg traded jabs at the basket for the Warriors throughout the game.

“We played physical enough on (Hall),” Fountain said, adding that by adding two bodies on him late helped.

EA trailed 49-38 going into the fourth period, and with a little help from senior Trae Lee, who drained a one-and-one and then a 3-pointer after sailing a pass to Flavors for a 7-0 run at the start. The Cougars trailed 49-45 with 6:17 left in the contest.

“Trae played through it,” EA assistant coach James Lee said. “It turned into a sea saw game, but it turned into our game.”

Campbell and Flavors made a couple free shots, and Louie Turner dished in a turn-around jumper to tie the game at 49-all with more than 5 minutes remaining.

Hall answered with an aggressive rebound and putback, Turner drained a pair and Flavors got a steal and layup for the Cougars’ first lead of the game at 53-51 with less than 4 minutes.

Hall then fouled out of the game at 3:08, and Turner made the back-end of a pair.

Heidelberg then coasted through the lane and made an and-one play to tie it back up at 54-54.

Turner then fought for a layup, and Heidelberg answered with one himself to make it 56-56 with 1:27 to go.

Fountain said the players did a good job of cutting the good branches off of the tree.

“The key to that game was cutting off everybody but No. 1 (Heidelberg),” he said. “We knew this year that he was going to score a lot of points. He was hard to stop.”

RC led 18-11 after the first period, and 36-22 at halftime.

Flavors led EA with 18 points. Campbell dished in 13, and Lee chipped in 8.

Heidelberg led RC with 26 points, and Hall had 21.

EA’s girls made some clutch free throws late, and held on despite a 11-1 run by RC in the fourth to win 52-47.

The Lady Cougars improved to 10-6 on the season.

Bailey Lancaster led EA with 23 points. Ashlyn Glick had 11.

The Cougars will close out the regular season on Monday and Tuesday at Fort Dale and Clarke Prep, respectively. Then they will head to the regional at CPS on Friday.