Cougars learn from loss, eye Elite 8

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Escambia Academy’s 12-game win streak came to an end during the AISA Class 2A, Region 2 tournament last week, but the Cougars learned from their loss and are eyeing success at the Elite 8 Tournament, which begins today.

The Cougars fell to South Choctaw 59-55 on Jan. 26, but bounced back with a vengeance with a 78-40 statement win over Russell Christian Academy the following day.

EA basketball coach James Lee said simply that the boys looked way ahead of the game against SC.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The preparation during the week may have been I would say on us so to speak,” Lee said. “It was a little to lax and we just let them get away with lackadaisical practices. We shoulder the blame there a lot.”

Against Russell Christian, EA’s seniors stepped up and carried the load during the win. MJ Jones, a senior, led with 22 points. Ti Taylor contributed with 19.

“We came out with a lot more intensity,” Lee said about the game against RCA. “We put together a real good first quarter, and we fell off in the second quarter just a tad bit.

“The third quarter we went back to some of the form that got us to a 12-game win streak in the first place,” he said. “We got a press going and made some easy baskets. MJ Jones finished strong for us.”

With the win on Jan. 27, the Cougars advance as the No. 3 seed out of Region 2 going into the Elite 8 Tournament.

EA faces Lowndes Academy tonight at 7:30 at the Multiplex in Montgomery.

Common opponents between EA and LA are Wilcox Academy and Sparta.

LA beat Sparta by five points during one game, and by 17 during another, according to its schedule on MaxPreps. EA beat Sparta and Wilcox by more than 50 points.

Lee said he doesn’t think the boys will look too far ahead this time after last week’s lesson.

“I think Friday was enough to shock them back in the present,” the coach said. “It’s about never looking too far against an opponent. You take care of business for that particular of time. You never look ahead or beyond.

“I personally think they learned a valiant lesson, which is why they were more prepared Saturday,” he said. “I’m 100 percent certain they’ll atone and give effort.”