By JOSH FRYE
At the beginning of this season, Escambia County High School’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had one goal, getting to the area championship while seeding in top spots. That goal has been fulfilled as the boys’ team defeated Vigor, 53-37, last Tuesday, January 25, on senior night, and Mary G. Montgomery, 58-26, last Thursday, January 27.
Sheldon Williams, ECHS’s leading points scorer, led the Blue Devils to the win over Vigor last week with 16 points. Jacob Dirden followed with 11 points, Conner McPherson scored 10 points, Stephen Williams added 6 points, Terrance McNeil registered 3 points, Kaiden Arnold scored 2, and Hakeem Johnson rounded out ECHS scoring with 1 point.
Against Mary G. Montgomery, Sheldon again led scoring with 16 points, Johnson added 11 points, Stephen Williams scored 7, Anthony McCants tacked on 6 points, McPherson also added 6, McNeil and Arnold gained 4 points each, and Dirden gained 3 points.
With the victories, the Blue Devils advance to an overall record of 12-3 and as the number 1 seed will host the 2022 Area Basketball Tournament which begins Monday, February 7. Currently, the Blue Devils are ranked number 2 in ASWA Class 4A.
The Lady Blue Devils are also making waves for other teams as they continue to have one of the best seasons in recent memory according to girls head coach Keyon Thompson, but have received little recognition for their achievements, as they are placed only as an honorable mention in the ASWA Basketball Rankings in Girls Class 4A.
Last week, the Lady Blue Devils knocked off Vigor on Monday, January 25, 52-50. Last Wednesday (January 26), the girls beat W.S. Neal, 52-34, and finished the week off with a 63-54 victory over Mary G. Montgomery on Thursday (January 27).
Against Vigor, C’Anna Betts, the Lady Blue Devils leading points scorer, led the team with 28 points. Jayla Adams followed with 17 points, Makayla Lyons added 4 points, and Tyqaja Brown gained 3 points.
Betts again led scoring during the Lady Blue Devils’ win over W.S. Neal with 26 points, Adams scored 15 points, Brown added 5 points, Gaines scored 3 points, Hanna Montgomery and Gabrielle McMurray added 2 points each, and Lyons added one.
During last Thursday’s win against Mary G. Montgomery, Betts, for a third time, broke over 20 points with the team high of 29 points, Adams scored 25, Lyons added 7 points, and Zahria McCants scored 2.
With the three wins, the Lady Blue Devils improve to a 20-4 season record and will travel to face Baldwin County for the last game of the 2022 regular season this Friday, February 4, at 5:30 p.m. In addition, the Lady Blue Devils will travel to Williamson as the number two seed for the Girls Area Basketball Tournament which begins Monday, February 7.