Blue Devils fall 58-40 to Jackson in area title game Wednesday

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024

JACKSON – Escambia County couldn’t find its rhythm and tempo and fell 58-40 to Jackson Wednesday night in the Class 4A, Area 2 championship.

With the loss, the Blue Devils fall to 15-9 on the season, and will have to travel in the sub regional round on Saturday. ECHS faces the winner of the Area 4 tournament, which will be decided tonight between Booker T. Washington and Bullock County.

After an early 3-pointer by Cleo Bolar Jr., Stephen Williams added a rebound and putback to take Escambia County’s first and only lead of the game.

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Jackson’s Joseph Taylor then added a layup on a drive, and Landon Duckworth got in a 3-pointer for an 8-5 advantage going into the second period.

Escambia County’s Ta Henderson started the second with a jumper to cut it to one, however.

Jackson’s Micah Caster hit a fade away jumper to keep the edge. Caster led the Aggies with 18 points. He added a pull up jumper a short time later for 14-7 advantage.

Caster later hit a 3-pointer; and Henderson hit one of his own to make it a 18-12 ball game with less than 3 minutes to go in the first half.

Duckworth, who scored 14 points on the night, added a rebound and putback.

The Aggies led 24-15 at halftime.

Williams began the second half with a rebound and putback, and Bolar added a free throw with 7:06 on the clock. Bolar added a 3-pointer to make it 30-21.

Later in the third, Williams got back-to-back layups to cut the lead to eight, and Lorenzo Arnold had a 3-pointer.

Jackson kept a 10-point lead going into the fourth period, where the Aggies pulled away for good.

Roderick Hamilton Jr. hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a 16-point game from the jump; of the fourth.

Bolard added two free throws and a 3-pointer, and Arnold had three free throws.

With 3:32 left, the Blue Devils called a timeout, and from which, they were looking to press and make the Aggies turn the ball over, boys basketball coach Layton Knight said.

But, Taylor and Duckworth added dunks to close out the effort.

Bolar led ECHS with 12 points. Henderson contributed with nine.