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Blue Devils top Vigor 50-40 Jan. 30

Escambia County’s 13-0 run to end the first half and its late free throws were the difference in a 50-40 victory over Vigor on Jan. 30 to close out the regular season at home.

The Blue Devils led 31-15 at the break after putting together a solid effort on defense and hitting some big shots from the 3-point range.

Vigor, an athletic and gritty team, came back in the second half, taking advantage of turnovers and utilizing pressure.

“We played real well in the first half,” ECHS coach John Shears said. “The second half, we made a lot of bonehead turnovers. The pressure got to us. That’s been our achilles heel all year, the pressure.

“We’ve got to do a better with the pressure, and not making long passes,” he said.

Shears added that playing a team like the Wolves can prove tricky because they’re quick and athletic.

Shears said the 13-0 run and the late free throws after a technical foul with more than 2 minutes left in the game were big.

“That pushed the lead by double digits,” he said. “That kind of calmed us down a little bit. We made a couple of free throws, and that calmed us down a bit. Vigor played a 1-3 half court trap (on defense).”

Sheldon Williams led ECHS with a double double 16 points, 18 rebounds, 5 blocks, an assist and one steal; Tre Lambert added 11 points and 6 rebounds; and Allen Patterson scored 6 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and had one block and 7 assists. Jalen Barnes contributed with 4 points and 3 rebounds.

In varsity girls action, the Lady Wolves won 55-33.

Timia Gaines led the Lady Blue Devils with 11 points; and C’anna Betts and Makayla Lyons scored 6 points each.

Vigor’s Janiya Labyzon led the Lady Wolves with 17 points; RaKira Ruffin added 14 points; and Ty’Keria Prince contributed with 12 points.

To end regular season play, the ECHS boys fell to Baldwin County Jan. 31 64-49.

Patterson led the Blue Devils with 18 points; Williams added 12 points and 13 rebounds; and Lambert contributed with 6 points and 5 rebounds. Jacoby James had 6 rebounds, and Hakeem Johnson had 9 points.

Next for ECHS is the Class 4A, Area 1 tournament, which kicks off tonight at UMS-Wright.

The Blue Devils, as the No. 3 seed, face Williamson tonight at 7.

Shears said it’s going to be a tough game, but if the boys hold true, things could come out differently for the Atmore team. This season, ECHS lost to WHS by an average of 36.5 points.

“They played with a lot of pressure,” Shears said. “If we can handle the pressure, we can keep the game close.”