By JOSH FRYE
The Escambia County varsity boys basketball team captured the 2021 Escambia County Basketball Tournament championship last Saturday, December 11 after defeating T.R. Miller last Thursday (December 9), 59-30, W.S. Neal last Friday (December 10), 64-23 and Flomaton last Saturday (December 11), 50-25.
“The guys played great,” ECHS head coach Layton Knight said. “I was very proud of the way the guys approached each game. They went out there and took care of business. We executed both defensively and offensively and were able to come out with some big wins.”
Knight said the tournament championship victory is a big step for the team as they head into the rest of the grueling season schedule. He added that with a win such as this, it helps not only create momentum and a positive environment for the team, but also helps keep motivation as the team moves forward this season towards the goal of a state championship.
During last Thursday’s win against T.R. Miller, Conner McPherson led scoring with 20 points, Sheldon Williams added 19 points, Hakeem Johnson tacked on 6, Stephen Williams scored 5, Terrance McNeil gained 5, LaCarlos Thomas scored 3 points and Kaiden Arnold added 1.
During last Friday’s tournament win against W.S. Neal, Sheldon Williams led scoring for the Blue Devils with 15 points, McPherson scored 11, Thomas gained 10 points, Xavion Gee and H. Johnson gained 9 points each, McNeil scored 5, Anthony McCants and Lamarkis Johnson scored 1 point each.
On Saturday’s championship win against Flomaton, McPherson led the team in scoring with 17 points, Sheldon Williams scored 16, H. Johnson scored 5, Gee added 3, Arnold contributed 2 points, Stephen Williams and Thomas added 1 point each.
Following the championship victory, ECHS players Conner McPherson and Sheldon Williams were named to the 2021 All-Tournament Team for their standout performances during the County Tournament.
In addition to a boys’ championship win, the ECHS Lady Blue Devils placed second during the 2021 Escambia County Tournament. The Lady Blue Devils defeated Flomaton, 43-38, during last Thursday’s tournament opener. Last Friday, the girls team fell, 57-49, against T.R. Miller, but won, 54-28, against W.S. Neal last Saturday. With the loss against T.R. Miller, the girls’ undefeated streak came to an end and the Lady Blue Devils now boast a 9-1 season record.
During last Thursday’s victory over Flomaton, C’Anna Betts led scoring with 21 points, Jayla Adams gained 17 points, Timia Gaines and Makayla Lyons added 3 points and Zahria McCants added 1 point.
During last Friday’s loss against T.R. Miller, Adams led scoring for ECHS with 24 points, Betts followed with 20 points and Lyons scored 7.
During the final game of the tournament against W.S. Neal, Betts led scoring for the Lady Blue Devils with 19 points, Adams gained 17 points, Gaines scored 13 points and Keturah Johnson added 5.
In addition to a second-place finish, Betts and Adams were named to the 2021 Escambia County All-Tournament team.
ECHS Lady Blue Devils head coach Keyon Thompson said that he continues to be pleased with the team’s performance so far this season and is proud of the way the team played during the tournament. Thompson stressed earlier this season that the Lady Blue Devils are continuing to improve with each game and is confident that his team will have an extremely successful season as the season continues.