Blue Devils knock off UMS-Wright in regional semifinal

News Staff Writer

Three Escambia County High players combined for all but 5 of their team’s points, and the Blue Devils dominated the final period to claim a 43-35 win over UMS-Wright in February 19 semifinals action of the AHSAA Class 4A South Regional Basketball Tournament.
Sophomore guard Cleo Bolar Jr. hit for 17 points to lead the team in scoring, while seniors Stephen Williams (12), and Lorenzo Arnold (9) also helped change the scoreboard digits.
Williams, a Division I prospect, also ruled the boards, pulling down 12 rebounds as ECHS, last year’s state runner-up, knocked off its region and area foe at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum.
The Blue Devils led 25-16 at the half, but the stubborn Bulldogs used a 14-8 surge to pull within 3 as the final period began. UMS-Wright was able to tie the game at 33, but the Blue Devils used a swarming man defense to force numerous turnovers and retake control at that point.
The Atmore team, now 17-8, forced its opponent to hurry its shots during a frantic fourth quarter that saw ECHS outscore the Mobile team by a 10-2 margin. The Bulldogs hit only 1 of their last 8 attempts from the field and during one span went more than 3 minutes without a point.
UMS-Wright turnovers led to 19 ECHS points as the state’s 8th-ranked Blue Devils advanced to the regional title game. They were to take on top-ranked Jackson (26-2), which beat No. 9 Andalusia 65-58 in the other semifinal, at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, also at Garrett Coliseum.