EA rallies late, falls 67-66 to Crenshaw Christian tonight in state playoffs

Published 10:40 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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LUVERNE – Escambia Academy rallied late, but fell short 67-66 tonight to Crenshaw Christian in the first round of the AISA Class 1A state playoffs.

The Canoe School built an early 15-8 lead after the first period, but CCA put together a 13-0 run to take a healthy lead. CCA outscored EA 23-8 in the second period, and held a 31-23 advantage at the break. The Luverne School led 49-42 going into the fourth.

EA bounced back in the fourth period on a late 7-0 run, and tried to win it with one final play with 3.1 seconds left.

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EA boys basketball coach Jerome Webster said the team came in a bit flat, and from there, couldn’t get things together.

“We couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Webster said. “We should’ve been better prepared. No matter what seed teams are, it’s tournament time. Everybody’s good, and everybody’s playing on the same field.”

EA entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed while CCA entered as No. 3.

Webster added that he loves the team, and many will see them again.

“We just got to get better,” he said. “We learned a lot this season.”

With the loss, EA finished 10-5 on the season.

Trailing 66-63 in the fourth, EA’s Ronta Watson dished in a layup with 1:30 left, and Charlie Sasser added a pair of free shots less than a minute later to keep things close.

EA then took a timeout, and Watson found himself on the charity stripe with 41.5 seconds left. He made his first, and EA got the ball back after an out of bounds play.

EA and CCA traded timeouts at 40.5 seconds.

EA’s Luke Bell then was fouled, and missed his free throws with 31.1 seconds left.

Crenshaw Christian had a chance to build its lead, but missed a 1-and-1 with 6.5 left.

Sasser, with the ball, called a timeout with 3.1 seconds left.

Out of the timeout, Justin Davis got the pass to Bell, whose shot bounced off the rim as the horn sounded.

Webster said the play was designed for a 3-pointer, but a man got open on the bottom.

Earlier in the game in the second period, CCA took control with the aid of two players – Jake Bodry and Haden Worthington.

Bodry managed two turnovers, and converted both on layups early. Worthington aded a 3-pointer. Bodry soon after found Worthington on a pass inside for an easy bucket.

Worthington then made a jumper for a 21-15 lead with more than 5 minutes left in the second.

EA bounced back on a Michael Bowens pair of free throws, Watson jumper, Sasser layup off a steal and a Davis 1-and-1, but CCA took control.

When asked what happened during the 13-0 run by CCA, Webster said his team’s shots didn’t fall in.

“We were shooting too fast,” he said. “We had a lot of time on the clock. We were trying to get all of those points back. We should’ve just took our time, and got our points back point by point. Instead, we tried to get the back in bundles.”

Watson got a layup for a 11-8 lead, and added a pair of free throws in the first period.

Sasser had a rebound and putback off a Y. McNeal steal and shot.

Worthington led CCA with 30 points. Bodry added 21 points.

Watson led EA with 27 points. Sasser scored nine points.

EA finished its season 10-5.