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Second half surge lifts Lady Eagles over ECHS

By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
With a second-half surge that erased a four-point halftime deficit in a November 22 game, the W.S. Neal Lady Eagles overtook the Escambia County Lady Devils and notched a 56-46 win that improved their record to 1-2 on the season.
The two teams battled tooth-and-nail for the first three quarters, but Escambia County led the entire opening half and maintained the advantage heading to the final period. A fourth-quarter Neal rally, however, enabled the Lady Eagles to take control of the game and exit with the victory.
Tough inside defensive play was the theme of the opening quarter, as neither team was able to generate much offense inside the paint. A series of Lady Eagle turnovers coupled with several good shots that simply refused to fall contributed to Escambia County taking a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Neal controlled the backboards in the second quarter and continued playing tough inside defense. Two key 3-point shots by Mayisha Brown sparked a Lady Eagles' offensive run that pulled them within four, 24-20, at the halftime break.
The third quarter was evenly contested, as both teams took turns making runs at the other. Heading to the final quarter, the Lady Devils' lead remained at four, 38-34.
A Candi Williams free throw followed by two consecutive steals by Tikeria Matthews to begin the fourth quarter gave Neal its first lead of the game at 39-38. From that point on, Lilly Fantroy took control on the offensive end of the court, scoring 12 points and leading the Lady Eagles to a 10-point win.
Fantroy bagged 19 points to lead the Neal offense. Williams added 10 points to the Lady Eagles' total, while Matthews and Brown each contributed eight points.