EA falls in AISA Class 1A state title game, finishes season runner up

Published 5:05 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

MONTGOMERY – Escambia Academy came up against a quick Banks Academy and fell 58-51 today in the AISA Class 1A state championship at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.

The Cougars and Jets were notched at 9-all at the end of the first period, but the Bessemer school were take a seven point lead an never give it up the rest of the way, forcing EA to play catch up.

BA led 26-19 at halftime, and 37-31 going into the fourth period. EA cut the game to four, but the eventual state champions answered the bell on the offensive end.

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“They’re a great team,” EA basketball coach Jerome Webster said. “They outhustled us. We didn’t stick to the game plan. We had height over them, but we didn’t go inside. Basically, that’s what happened in the big game. Some of our guys weren’t focused or ready.”

Webster added that his leading scorer, 6-foot-8 guard Quinton Odom, just didn’t have a great game. Odom finished the game with 13 points. He scored nine of said points in the fourth period.

When asked what happened with Odom, Webster said he didn’t know.

“I guess he just wasn’t locked in today of all days,” he said.

Leading scorer Ronta Watson led the Cougars with 22 points. He went off in the second and third periods to keep the game honest, scoring eight points each.

Webster said Banks had quickness and hustle.

“The balls we didn’t normally go for, they went for,” he said. “Banks had intention. They won the battle and we didn’t.”

Webster said other things including forced errors and turning the ball over contributed to the loss.

During the third period, Watson hit two drives to the paint, found senior Charlie Sasser on an assist and drained two free throws. The second period included two free throws and three trips to the paint.

Sasser got the scoring going in the first period with a rebound and putback, and later found Ty McCants on an assist.

Watson tied the game at 9 apiece with two free throws near the end of the first period.

Banks Academy’s Issac Smith Jr. led with 14 points. Tavarus Robinson added 13 points. Artrell Cox contributed with 10 points.

Trinity’s Nate Riddle; Lowndes Academy’s Clayton Hussey; Watson; McCants; Smith; Jekari Harris; and Robinson were named to the All-Tournament team.