By JOSH FRYE
Basketball season ended abruptly for Escambia Academy’s Cougars in the form of a tough, 46-30, loss to rival Autauga Academy last Thursday, February 13, in semifinals action of the AISA Class 2A state tournament, played in Montgomery.
The only word EA head coach James Smith could find in describing the loss was “disappointing.”
According to Smith, the final score represented one of the lowest points totals for his team all season.
“It is a hard pill to swallow,” the EA coach said. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm. It was hard to face losing the way we did. I don’t really have anything else to say other than that I am proud of my guys and for the season they have had.”
The Generals held the halftime lead, 26-12, and things continued to spiral downward for the Cougars after the buzzer sounded to start the third quarter.
At the end of three periods, Autauga held a commanding, 36-18, advantage.
Despite an exciting offensive and defensive effort in the final period, the Generals commanded the court on their way to victory.
EA coaching staff had not yet reviewed video or tallied individual scoring efforts and stats by Tuesday’s press deadline.
“I have not even looked at the video yet,” Smith said. “The video will help me see what we could have done better and what I could have done better as a coach to help get us on the right track.”
He said his players became impatient after they fell behind and never could get into a rhythm.
“We didn’t move the ball as well as we normally do,” Smith said. “That was one of the things I keep replaying in my head. We are very good at moving the ball and we just were not patient enough. That is pretty much all I can say other than, back to the drawing board for next season.”
Tiquale Taylor, Bryant Quimby and Ty’rese Smith were named to the AISA All- Star team, following last Thursday’s game.
In the tournament’s title game, Autauga fell for the second straight year to Lakeside, dropping a 37-35 nail-biter.