Unity honors ECHS basketball team

Players, coaches, and guests, from left, front, Stephen Williams, Hakeem Johnson, Deborah Thomas, Amy Cabaniss, Leslie Sellers, Shawn Lassiter, Jim Staff; back, Willie Knight, Devin Robinson, Anthony McCants, LaCarlos Thomas, Quentin Higgins.
Players, coaches and pastor, from left, front, Quentin Higgins, Hakeem Johnson, Willie Knight, Pastor Josh Long, Layton Knight; back, Anthony McCants, LaCarlos Thomas.

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Pastor Josh Long and the congregation at Unity Baptist Church deviated from the regular morning worship service Sunday, March 13, to honor Escambia County High School players and coaches who went all the way to the state championship this year. Though they didn’t win the top spot, they made school history by making it that far and coming home in second place.
“Fellows, congratulations,” Pastor Long said. “You played with as much integrity and class as anyone could play with … It was tough losing, but you did something that hasn’t been done here … You have a lot to be thankful for in your coaches”
Church members Rusty and Jean Montel have followed the team and have been great supporters.
“Hold your heads high,” Jean Montel told the team. “You can go anywhere you want to go.”
Coach Quentin Higgins and coach Willie Knight were in attendance, but head coach Layton Knight had a previous engagement and came later.
Coach Higgins said, “We are very thankful. This is a great group of young men. They have adjusted to us, to our different coaching styles. We are going to do everything we can to make it back to state.”
Coach Willie Knight thanked the congregation for hosting them. Speaking of coach Layton Knight, he said, “He loves these kids. … They’re going to put in the work.”
“Praise God,” ECHS principal Amy Cabaniss said. Referring to Jeremiah 29:11, she reminded the players the Lord has plans for them. She thanked the coaches, the parents and the community for their participation with this team.
Pastor Long urged the players to always remember someone is looking up to them.
“Continue to put in the work. Kids are looking up to you,” he said. “They are watching your attitude and your work ethic.”
Other guests attending were ECHS assistant principal Leslie Sellers, parent Deborah Thomas, Mayor Jim Staff, Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Lassiter.
Following the worship service, a reception was held in the fellowship hall.
Head Coach Layton Knight
Assistant coaches:
Keyon Thompson
Raymond Robinson
Willie Knight
Quentin Higgins
John Jones
Devon Robinson
Amanda Hunter
Team members
Hakeem Johnson
Stephen Williams
Sheldon Williams
Anthony McCants
Terrence McNeil Jr.
Connor McPherson
Lamarkis Johnson
LaCarlos Thomas
Jacob Dirden
Kaiden Arnold