Blue Devils fall 67-59 to Jackson in 4A, Area 2 championship

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023

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JACKSON – Escambia County fell 67-59 to Jackson Feb. 9 in the Class 4A, Area 2 championship.

The Blue Devils fell behind 19-6 in the first period, bounced back in the second, but trailed 35-30 at halftime. ECHS trailed 50-42 going into the fourth period.

With the loss, the No. 5 Blue Devils fall to 16-8 overall, and advance to the Class 4A South Sub Regional next Tuesday night at UMS-Wright. Jackson hosts Orange Beach.

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In the first period, Jackson’s Jayron Merrill and Jonah Hughes began the big run on back-to-back 3-pointers. Merrill added a jumper to make it 10-4 with less than 5 minutes left. Nasir Powell added a layup a little later.

Micah Caster’s layup off a fast break made it a 13-point game for the Aggies.

At the buzzer, Escambia County’s Cleo Bolar hit a trey to make it an eight point game.

Bolar began the second period as he finished the first on a 3-pointer. Hakeem Johnson added a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to 22-16.

Later in the second, Escambia County’s Mike French got a 3-pointer; Merrill made a floater to go; and Tae Henderson managed a rebound and putback.

Bolar added a 1-and-1 and two free shots to keep the lead honest. He got a steal and found French low for an easy bucket.

Bolar added a trey at the buzzer for halftime and a five-point deficit.

Stephen Williams got a rebound and putback in the third, and added a pair of free throws.

Johnson dished it to Henderson for an easy bucket and Escambia County’s first lead of the game.

Midway through the third, Micah Jones got a drive to the basket for JHS and Merrill added another. Merrill swished a 3-pointer to keep a five-point advantage over the Blue Devils.

In the fourth, Johnson went off on the court, but it wasn’t enough.

Johnson hit a 3-pointer, a rebound and putback and a turnaround jumper in a matter of minutes.

Anthony McCants hit a pair of free shots and a steal and layup late.

Johnson led ECHS with 17 points; Bolar added 15; and Henderson scored 12.

Powell and Caster led the Aggies with 16 points each.

Williams and Johnson were selected to the All-Tournament Team.