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Local Roundup: Early County bounces back from first loss

Early County coach Randy Isom

Early County coach Randy Isom

CHIPLEY, Fla. — It took a heated controversy, a long talk with officials and overtime for someone to beat Early County’s Bobcats, who saw their season-long eight-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night in an 85-75 overtime loss to Turner County in the Florida vs. Georgia Tournament in the Florida Panhandle, where they were playing a team from Georgia.

Early County coach Randy Isom still can’t believe what happened at the end of regulation.

Early County, ranked No. 5 in The Herald, led 68-65 with 6.6 seconds left in regulation. Turner took the ball out of bounds for one last shot, but just as the Turner player started up the court the horn blew.

“When the horn blew everybody stopped,’’ Isom said. “But the player from Turner stopped and then kept going. He took a few more dribbles and then took (an uncontested) 3-pointer, and he hit it.

“I went to the officials and told them that everyone stopped when they heard the horn, and that they should put 6.6 seconds back on the clock and give Turner the ball out of bounds. The officials told me that it was an inadvertent horn and that the basket counted.’’

The Bobcats came back from that loss and ran past Niceville, Fla. on Thursday, 71-53, to wrap up three nights in the Panhandle with a win in the third place game of the tournament.

And it was an incredible three games for Davontay McCoy, who scored 96 points in the tournament, including a career-high 44-point night in the opener on Wednesday against Panama City Mosley in a 99-84 win.

And it was an incredible three games for Davontay McCoy, who scored 96 points in the tournament, including a career-high 44-point night in the opener on Tuesday against Panama City Mosley in a 99-84 win.

Isom just smiled and said: “He’s the real deal.’’

McCoy led the way with 26 points against Turner County and dropped in 26 on Thursday night against Niceville. Ladonis Yarborough had a big tournament for the Bobcats, scoring 21 against Mosley, 22 against Turner and 13 against Niceville. Dequanta George had 17 points against Niceville and Tracy Hallmon added 13 points in Thursday night’s win. Hallmon also had 16 points against Mosley.

The Bobcats (9-1) had to play without center Jacori Taylor, who left the first game with a leg injury, but Isom said he is hopeful Taylor will be ready to play when Early meets Thomasville in a huge Region 1-AA game in Blakely at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Thomasville, ranked No. 8 in the coaches Class AA state poll, is the defending region champ and the first meeting between the Bobcats and Bulldogs should bring a packed house to the Early County gym. Thomasville lives on its big front that includes 6-8 Willie Clayton, but Isom said playing three games in Florida this week should help his team.

“All the teams we played were bigger than us in height,’’ Isom said. “We learned a lot from this tournament. We learned to be more physical, and we learned to be more disciplined and we learned how to finish games. And we learned how to play at our tempo for three days in a row.’’

PELHAM GIRLS 52, COFFEE 39: The Herald No. 4 Pelham girls had to play Coffee at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday in the McDonald’s Invitational Classic, but it didn’t seem to bother the Lady Hornets, who won easily.

“Oh goodness,’’ said Pelham coach Antonio Tookes, whose team won its eighth game in a row to improve to 8-1. “I have never ever had to play a basketball game at 8:30 in the morning. We gave them some orange juice, apple juice, and some wanted fruit punch. And everyone got a banana.’’

It worked.

Pelham was led by freshman Briunna Freeman, who scored 22 points. Herald Super 6er Shay Reece dropped in 20, and Octavia Kierce scored 14 for Pelham.

“I’m glad we were able to play that well that early in the morning,’’ Tookes said. “Maybe we should play all our games at 8:30. We shot free throws a lot better. We were 14-of-22, and that’s good for us.’’

Pelham plays its final game in the classic against Wilcox in a game that starts at a more reasonable time — 5:30 p.m.

LEE-SCOTT BOYS 64, DEERFIELD-WINDSOR 52: The Deerfield Knights faced two of the premier teams in Alabama this week, including the state’s top-ranked private school, Lee-Scott, which improved to 16-0 with a win against DWS on Thursday in the Border Wars Tournament.

“We wanted to play these teams,’’ said DWS coach Gordy Gruhl, whose team is now 7-3. “We’ve got some breakdowns defensively that we’ve got to work on. We played pretty well offensively.

“We played them tough,’’ he said. “We just couldn’t stop them. We were down by 17 at halftime, and we outscored them (22-17) in the second half. But we just dug ourselves in a hole. We went 7-of-26 from the field in the first half, but we came back and were 12-of-19 in two-point range in the second half.

Ramello Carter led DWS with 14 points and Weston King scored 13 for the Knights.

DWS will play Tiftarea on Tuesday at home, where Deerfield will retire the number of Andre Young, who is now a star at Clemson. The ceremony will take place between the girls game, which begins at 6:30 and the boys game.

DEERFIELD-WINDSOR GIRLS 49, FORT DALE 27: Deerfield (9-3) bounced back from a tough 49-48 loss to host Glenwood Academy on Wednesday and won easily in its final game of the Border Wars Tournament.

Nyla Perry led the way with 11 points and seven rebounds. Miranda Phillips also scored 11 points, and Sabrina Curry had a big game, scoring seven points, handing out four assists and making five steals as DWS dominated the game on the defensive end of the floor. Heather Lash scored eight points for DWS, which meets Tiftarea at home at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

WESTWOOD 57, MT. VERNON 30: The Westwood Lady Wildcats bounced back from their only loss of the season on Thursday, beating Mt. Vernon to capture third place in the Tattnall Square Christmas Tournament.

Ivy Foister scored 14 points to lead the Lady Wildcats, who are now 11-1. Miller Singleton and Virginia Vereen scored 12 points each and Hannah Hinesley scored seven points for Westwood.

Vereen, who was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last year when Westwood played for the GISA Class A state title, has been out this season with a leg injury, but she returned to the court this week and played limited minutes.

“She’s getting her legs back,’’ Westwood coach Jenni Smith said. “I’m glad she’s getting better.’’

CRISP ACADEMY GIRLS 38, LEE-SCOTT 29: Crisp Academy had little trouble beating one of the top Class AAA private schools in Alabama as Madi Mitchell scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the way. Jay Jay Yawn added seven points for Crisp (9-3).

Crisp Academy plays Fullington today at 4 p.m.