By JOSH FRYE
News Staff Writer
The Escambia County High School boys’ varsity basketball team is getting set to learn their fate in the area tournament setup after coming off a huge area win against W.S. Neal High School last Thursday, January 24.
The Blue Devils defeated WSN 74 to 38 to extend their season overall record to 17-5.
The win also wrapped up the Blue Devils area play with a record of 4-2.
Senior Lue Williams added 16 points during the game. Williams has been the absolute force for the Blue Devils this season. He has set an unofficial school record this season with a career high of 1,234 points. His 1,000-career point milestone was set earlier this season as the Blue Devils took on Andalusia on Dec. 27.
“Williams has been our leading scorer and rebounder,” assistant coach J.B. Ripley said. “He has made huge shots time and time again,”
One of those huge shots came at the final few minutes of last week’s game against UMS-Wright Prep. Williams set up a shot that gave the Blue Devils the 66-65 win.
The win set ECHS up for a shot at the number 1 seed for the upcoming area tournament.
Blue Devil Demetrion Barnes also added 18 points on 6 3-pointers during Thursday’s game against Neal. Dimitri Wiggins chipped in an additional 10 points for the Blue Devils.
The picture for the playoff scenario now lies in the hands of UMS-Wright Prep and Williamson High School as they face each other on Tuesday.
ECHS will need a UMS-Wright win against Williamson to have a chance to gain the number 1 seed and host the area tournament.
If UMS-Wright gains the win over Williamson, head coaches from the 3 teams will meet at ECHS for a coin toss to determine who the number 1 seed will be. That toss will put the odd man out.
If Williamson wins, a coin toss at ECHS will determine who the number 2 and number 3 seed will be.
In the meantime, the Blue Devils are gearing up to face Vigor High School in their last regular season game this Friday night, February 1.
“We need to make sure we are working on improving in all areas of play in anticipation for Vigor and the area tournament,” Ripley said. “We need to tighten up our defense, press, transition defense, polish up on offense and improve on free throws. We are very proud of what we have accomplished this season and of what we are going to accomplish going into post-season.”
The Lady Blue Devils are also enjoying a great season end as they gained another huge win over W.S. Neal last week.
The Lady Blue Devils defeated Neal with a final score of 34 to 28 last Thursday, January 24.
The win brings their overall season record to 10-12 and helped seal a number 3 seed for them in the area tournament.
“They tried to slow our tempo down by stalling the ball and perfected their offense but we were able to overcome that obstacle and find the win,” head coach Layton Knight said. “I am proud of the way my team has played this season. They have certainly impressed.”
The Lady Blue Devils fell short to UMS-Wright Prep earlier last week with a final score of 44 to 31.
Eighth grader C’anna Betts has been one of the top scorers for the Lady Blue Devils this season, scoring 17 points against UMS-Wright last week.
Jacala Nickson tallied 7 points. Jayla Adams added 5 points.
“We are excited for the state tournament and the girls have had a good season,” Knight said. “I am very proud of the way that we played and we will be working to polish up and improve in the areas that we need to.”
The Lady Blue Devils will host Bayside at home this Thursday night.