By JOSH FRYE
Escambia County High’s boys basketball team fell 28 points short, 89-51, against the state’s number-one ranked Class 4A school, Williamson High, on January 10.
Missing several key players due to lineup changes over the Christmas and New Year’s break, ECHS took to the court with hopes of shocking the Lions, but that wasn’t the case.
Despite 19 points from Sheldon Williams, the Blue Devils were unable to find a win against the tough Williamson team, which outscored the Blue Devils 24-8 during the first quarter and extended the lead to 53-25 at the half. At the end of the third period Williamson led the Blue Devils 79-47.
Jalen Barnes scored 10 points for ECHS, while Jamarius Lewis scored eight, Tyson Moorer had seven, and Jacoby James and Hakeem Johnson added four each. Despite the balanced scoring, turnovers prevented the Blue Devils from closing the gap.
“We didn’t execute well,” ECHS head coach John Shears said. “We had 30 turnovers during the course of the game. Williamson scored on each of those turnovers. We need to eliminate those mistakes and settle down.”
With the loss, the Blue Devils fell to 9-10. As of the January 10 polls, Williamson continued as the top-ranked Class 4A team, followed by Sumter Central and UMS-Wright.
Girls fall, too
In varsity girls’ action against Williamson, the Lady Blue Devils also fell short. ECHS dropped a 42-30 decision to the Lady Lions and dropped to 5-6 on the season.
C’Anna Betts paved the way for the Lady Devils, scoring15 points. Her performance was supplemented by a five-point effort from Keturah Johnson, while Deandria Adams and Timia Gaines scored four points each and Zahria McCants added a point.
ECHS is slated to travel to play Williamson this Friday, January 17, for a chance at redemption.
Shears said the Blue Devils must control the game’s tempo and hold onto the ball if they are to knock off the lofty Lions.
“A key against a team such as Williamson is to slow them down instead of letting them play at their speed,” he said. “This week we have to focus on slowing them down to our speed and not creating turnovers.”