Blue Devils fall to Booker T. Washington 47-39 in regional semifinal

Published 6:36 pm Saturday, February 18, 2023

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MONTGOMERY – Escambia County fell 47-39 to Booker T. Washington today in the Class 4A South Regional Semifinal at Garrett Coliseum.

Both teams couldn’t get their offenses going early in the game, and BTW led 20-13 at halftime.

The Golden Eagles held its lead for the rest of the game despite an Escambia County surge late in the fourth period.

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Blue Devils boys basketball coach Layton Knight said there were a couple defensive breakdowns late.

“We didn’t shoot well from the free throw (line) or from the field,” Knight said. “We’ve just got to start working on next year. It was a hard loss to a good team. They played well.”

In the fourth period, Escambia County’s Jovaughnte Henderson got things going with a pair of free shots. He was then followed up with a Stephen Williams lay in to cut it to six.

Booker T’s Elijah Hall added a 1-and-1 with 1:33 to go to keep the Golden Eagles’ lead.

Hakeem Johnson then hit a 3-pointer with 1:21 to get within five, and the Blue Devils then took a timeout.

Williams laced in a layup with less than a minute left to get within three points, but an old-fashioned play by BTW iced the game with 22.5 seconds remaining.

In the first half, BTW led 6-4 after the first period.

Knight said they were just flat in the first half regarding his team’s shooting.

For the game, Escambia County shot 33.3 percent from the field, and 17.6 percent from the perimeter.

BTW went 34 percent from the field, and was 22.2 percent from the arch.

Knight said the team met his expectations for the season.

“I expected us to go to the region, but I just didn’t know how far,” he said.

Knight said he believes the team will be competitive next year.

“We’ve got to go to work,” he said. “We’ve got to go in the lab.”

Williams led ECHS with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Henderson added 10 points.

Elijah McCray led BTW with 19 points, and Marquez Daniel contributed with 13 points.

ECHS finished its season 18-10.