By JOSH FRYE
Escambia Academy is bound for the AISA 2A State Tournament as the number one seed after defeating Lowndes Academy, 33-30, for the AISA 2A Area Championship last Tuesday, January 25, on senior night.
According to EA head coach Willie White, the win was a milestone and goal reached for the Cougars after having a slow start to the season with a number of players out due to football season games, injuries and illness.
“We had a limited number of players when we started this season,” White said. “After we got back on track, the guys have been great. Players who have never played basketball before have discovered a new talent and the team has been working hard since day one. I am extremely proud of them.”
During the area championship win against Lowndes, team scoring leader Landon Sims once again gained most of the points for the Cougars with 8. In addition, Sims also gained 6 assists, had 3 rebounds and stole the ball once. Brain Brown added 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Charlie Sasser had 6 points, 5 rebounds and one steal. Ja’Daniel “Bubba” Nettles added 5 points, 1 assist, 1 steal and 5 rebounds. Malaki Haynes contributed 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist. Kayne Hooks had 3 points and 1 rebound.
The win however did not come with an easy price as Sims sat out with a broken finger, sustained during the battle with Lowndes, during last Thursday’s (January 27), 51-44, victory over Lighthouse Christian Academy in EA’s last regular season game.
“It is always a loss when you have to sit your leading scorer,” White said. “However, it is crucial to having Landon ready for the playoffs. We are looking forward to making a run for the state championship.”
According to White, Sims should be ready, though may be a bit sore with a broken digit, when the Cougars take to the court against either Edgewood or Lakeside during the first round of the AISA 2A State Tournament Wednesday, February 9, at Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery at 1:30 p.m. If the Cougars succeed in taking down Edgewood or Lakeside, they will advance to round two where they will face Chambers, Wilcox or Southern Academy on Friday, February 11 in Montgomery at 7 p.m. EA exits the regular season with an overall record of 13-5 and area record of 5-1.