By JOSH FRYE
The Escambia County High Blue Devils boys’ basketball team captured the area championship during the 2022 AHSAA Class 4A Area 1 Basketball Tournament after gaining 2 wins last week, which has kept the team’s hopes alive for a possible regional and state championship.
Thursday, February 10, ECHS started strong after defeating Vigor High in Atmore, 46-40 during the first round of the playoffs. Sheldon Williams and younger brother Stephen Williams led the charge against Vigor. Sheldon scraped up 14 points and Stephen gained 13. Jacob Dirden supplemented the Williams’ brother performance with 10 points. Hakeem Johnson and Conner McPherson gained 3 points each.
Saturday, February 12, the Blue Devils captured the area championship after dominating Williamson, 97-63. Stephen Williams led ECHS in scoring with 22 points, McPherson gained 21 points, Sheldon Williams scored 20 points, Johnson added 17, Kaiden Arnold posted 13 points, Anthony McCants contributed 3 points and Dirden gained 2.
ECHS continued in AHSAA Class 4A post-season play this week when they hosted Jackson High in Atmore Tuesday, February 15. However, that game was yet to be played at press deadline. Follow-up of that game and ECHS’s post-season journey will continue in next week’s edition of Atmore News.
While the boys basketball team has been enjoying post-season success, championship hopes for the Lady Blue Devils diminished after the team fell 85-43 to Vigor High last week at Williamson during the first round of the 2022 Class 4A Area 1 Girls Tournament.
According to the Lady Blue Devils head coach Keyon Thompson, the girls just could not find a way to overcome Vigor. “We fell 40 points short,” Thompson said.
“It is a hard pill to swallow, but the girls have absolutely shown what they have got this season after being the underdog. They have surprised a lot of people and showed that they are a strong force. I am very proud of them for everything that they have accomplished this season.”
With the girls out of the picture, all attention goes to the ECHS varsity boys team as they attempt to wrangle in a state championship for Atmore.