Blue Devils collar Andalusia, 75-71 in 2OT

Published 9:24 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017

Escambia County players, coaches and fans celebrate its 75-71 double overtime win over Andalusia tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia County players, coaches and fans celebrate its 75-71 double overtime win over Andalusia tonight. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

MONROEVILLE — Escambia County’s seniors didn’t want to lose tonight as the Blue Devils topped No. 3 Andalusia 75-71 in double overtime in the semifinals of the Class 4A, Area 2 tournament.

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A combination of good defense, attacking on every play and resiliency helped the No. 10 Blue Devils pull off a tough win in an equally tough environment at Monroe County High School.

In the end, ECHS coach Erin Straughn said the work the boys put in at practice paid off as the Atmore team finished 2-1 over AHS this season.

“That’s why we work so hard,” Straughn said. “That’s why we do all of those suicides and running day in and day out. That’s what we work for; what better way to win in double overtime while fighting through a lot of adversity.”

Straughn was referring to a senior who had a little ankle injury, along with getting in foul trouble as reasons for the adversity in the game, along with a strong Bulldog attack.

“We still did a great job of finding a way to win,” he said.

With this victory, the Blue Devils are guaranteed two more games — the area championship on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and the sub regional on Feb. 14.

ECHS may have found a way to beat AHS, but it was seniors Devon Robinson and Triston Knott who led the charge.

Robinson finished a stellar game with 26 points; and Knott had 18, including four 3-pointers in the third period to lead ECHS. Malik “Shake” Brown and Nick Davison chipped in with 12 points each.

“We just went out there and played hard, and as a team,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the win felt great, and every senior didn’t have any intention of going home.

“We needed that,” he said.

To send the game into overtime, Andalusia’s Allan George — a Vanderbilt enrollee — hit a 3-pointer with 7 seconds remaining in the fourth period.

In the first overtime, a back-and-forth battle ensued.

BJ Anderson of Andalusia drained four straight points, and helped the Bulldogs take a 61-57 lead. A short time later, Trey Wilkerson, who dominated the boards for AHS, fouled out of the game.

Brown then stepped up, knocked in two pairs of free throws, and Knott drained a pair to tie the game at 63-63 with 1:28 left.

ECHS and AHS had the chance of putting the game away with time dwindling away, but the game was meant to go into the second overtime, apparently.

After Dimitri Wiggins made a jumper, Brown swished in a 3-pointer and made a nice spin move for a layup with around 1:40 to go for a 70-67 advantage.

George dropped in a pair 10 seconds later to keep it close at 1.

Robinson then took over with a drive to the basket, and then Brown made the back-end with 19 seconds to go for a 73-71 cushion.

Andalusia tried for a shot, but Davison blocked it on the other end, where Robinson found Knott for an easy conversion and the win.

Before overtime, the Blue Devils kept in the game because of good half-court defense in the first half even with Andalusia leading 27-22 at the break; Knott’s four 3-pointers in the third period; and Robinson’s 6 points in the fourth.

Overall, Straughn said ECHS made some good shots and plays during the game.

“A good team makes good plays,” he said. “Good shooters make good shots, and they make hard ones. That’s what happened there.

“T.J. (Knott) is a good shooter, and he stepped up to the plate,” he said. “It’s his senior year. He didn’t want to lose — none of our seniors want to lose. He stepped up to the plate, and downed his shots and played better defense and we all did better as a team.”

Straughn said Robinson played his best game, adding that he holds himself to a high standard.

“Devon, I love him, I love him; he does everything I ask,” Straughn said. “He’s a great student first and athlete second. He is, along with T.J., one of our team captains. He doesn’t want to lose. He’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
Anderson led AHS with 27 points; George chipped in 14; and Jaden Brown had 10.

In girls action, the Lady Blue Devils fell 45-40, ending their season 10-15.